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Energy in Transition, 1985-2010: Final Report of the Committee on Nuclear and Alternative Energy Systems
FIGURE 4–4 Productivity in bituminous coal and lignite mining from 1948 to 1978 (average tons per worker day). Source; U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Annual Report to Congress, 1978, vol. 2, Data (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office (061–000–00288–0), 1979), p. 96.
The extent to which coal mining per se is responsible for all of this disability, however, is a question that has not been precisely evaluated.
The occupational health problems relating to coal mining have not been satisfactorily analyzed, in part owing to the many factors involved, sociological as well as occupational. Although the respirable dust standard—if it can be effectively enforced—should provide very significant protection against certain conditions (the pneumoconiosis-fibrosis categories), it is not known to what extent it will protect against other conditions in the very broad black lung category, or against other conditions that could be specifically associated with working in the mines. The problem is discussed in chapter 9. The Office of Technology Assessment58 has emphasized the potential threats to health from other dusts, noise, mine gases, and engine emissions. The whole problem requires intensive study and control that will entail the active cooperation of the workers and management.
It would appear that the broadest relevant generalization concerning the question of labor and working conditions is that the recent period of rapid growth has brought both upheaval in labor-management relations and progress in working conditions. The coming sharp increase in national