1999 - 1900United States of America

The period 1900 through 1909 was the deadliest decade in U.S. underground coal mining, and led to the legislation that founded the Bureau of Mines with the express mandate of reducing fatalities in the mining industry. From 1900 through 1909, 3,660 miners perished in a total of 133 mine disasters. Sixteen major mine disasters during this time period killed 2,070 miners. After intense public pressure, Congress passed Public Law 61-79 in 1910. This law created the United States Bureau of Mines, an agency whose primary mission was mine safety research and investigation (MSHA, 1998a). The goal was to mitigate underground coal mine disasters through application of research. After the founding of the Bureau of Mines, a number of major events were still to come. Many of the events lead to changes in U.S. mine safety and health regulations. Overall, 1910-1969 was a period of significant decrease in disasters.


  • 1998a. Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States. Volume I: Coal Mines, 1810–1958. Beckley, West Virginia: US Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, National Mine Health and Safety Academy.
  • 1989. Informational Report of Investigation – Underground Coal Mine Explosion and Fire, Consol No. 9 Mine, Mountaineer Coal Company, Division of Consolidation Coal Co., Farmington, Marion County, West Virginia, November 20, 1968. Arlington, VA: U. S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration

Photo: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/UserFiles/works/pdfs/2010-128.pdf