Coal made Britain great, it was the beating heart of the industrial revolution. Used initially to power steam engines, coal went on to be the primary source of energy for industry and transportation in the UK. It also played a crucial part in the success of both world wars.
Many UK coal mines are situated in northern and central England due to the abundance of coal in these areas, as well as South Wales and Scotland.
A brief history of modern UK coal mining
The UK coal mining industry was nationalised between the years 1946 and 1947 and was the responsibility of the newly created National Coal Board (NCB). The NCB was later renamed the British Coal Corporation in 1987.
However, the Conservative government under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher continued to shrink the coal industry and in 1994 the economic assets of British Coal were privatised and operations were merged with RJB mining and in 2001 renamed UK Coal.
In 2012 UK Coal pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws after the death of a coal miner at the Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire. This was the third death at the Kellingley Colliery in four years and UK Coal were fined £200,000.
Accidents and ill health
From the beginning, coal mining has always been a political and social issue, but since 1970 environmental issues and especially the health of miners has been increasingly as important. Coal miners are exposed to dangers which can lead to many industrial injuries and illnesses, these include:
Dangers of dust inhalation
The effect of inhaling dust can be very severe. It can cause lung diseases such as coal workers pneumoconiosis/black lung and other breathing disorders such as emphysema. If asbestos dust is present this can cause mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos forming in the lining of the lungs.
Dangers of vibrating machinery
Coal miners are exposed to the constant vibration of many of the machines and tools used in the extraction process. Over time the constant use of these machines and tools can lead to conditions such as Vibration White Finger (VWF).
Dangers of constant loud noise
The constant and excessive loud noise from machinery or even single loud noises such as those associated with the use of explosives can cause permanent hearing loss. This is known as noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) or industrial deafness.
Dangers of manual handling
Manual handling not only involves moving large objects – and the risks to body parts, but also very repetitious jobs. These types of repetitive tasks can lead to injuries such as repetitive strain injury (RSI) and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Coal mining compensation
Many coal miners, including miners who finished working many years ago have successfully made coal miners compensation claims.
Just because the National Coal Board and British Coal no longer exist, this does not stop you from making a claim for compensation against them. Contact Mellor Hargreaves today on 0800 811 844 and speak to one of our coal miner compensation specialists.