West Virginia, USA, once had the reputation for the highest mine death rate of any of the states.
Large scale coal operations began in Marion County, WV, in the 1880s.
Between 1890 and 1912, regulation of mining conditions in West Virginia was poor, and the state’s mining industry saw numerous deadly coal mining accidents.
The nation’s worst coal disaster occurred on 6 December 1907.
361 workers were killed when an explosion occurred at an underground mine owned by the Fairmont Coal Company in Monongah, Marion County.
The accident was the catalyst to much of the movement that created the Federal Bureau of Mines, the first concerted effort to bring safer working conditions to coal mines.