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Coal Miners Brace For The Arctic Blast

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

The freezing temperatures can pose safety threats in coal mines, so miners are on winter alert.

WYMT's Angela Sparkman visited one mine in Pike County to see how they are preparing.

Coal Miner Brad Damron's rock duster froze up. He thawed it, but it's just one safety threat in the cold.

“It makes it harder just about everywhere,” Damron said.

For miners both underground and on the surface.

He says the cold can freeze diesel and hydraulic fluid in equipment.

It can also freeze water both inside and outside mines, causing busts, and he says the cold is changing the barometric pressure in the mines, so they worry about the mine drying out, creating more risks.

“We just have to really watch about and monitor closely and everybody really has to be on their toes,” Premier-Elkhorn Safety Director, David Wilder said.

He says they are prepared for whatever the weather brings.

They are spending extra money to keep the outside equipment running non-stop to keep the fluids from freezing.

“That's probably the best thing. If you shut it down in zero weather, it's going to be hours and hours getting it started back,” Wilder said.

Miners are also adjusting. They are wearing different clothing to prevent frostbite and taking breaks to stay warm and alert to make sure no danger arises.

With more freezing temperatures on the way, safety managers say they are monitoring the situation around the clock and will make safety changes if necessary. But they will not stop working.

“The temperature and the weather will not stop us from mining coal,” Wilder said.

Crews also added more gravel on coal roads to make it safer for the trucks carrying the coal.


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