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The 47th Anniversary of the Farmington Mine Disaster

On November 20, 1968 at approximately 5:30 a.m., the CONSOL #9 Mine in Farmington, West Virginia exploded, with 99 miners underground and a blast so powerful it was felt for miles. Although 21 miners escaped uninjured, 78 were killed and 19 bodies were never recovered. Profound changes in mine safety and health followed this tragedy as miners and widows of the victims lobbied before Congress, demanding safer and more healthful working conditions in the coalfields. Their testimony, along with national public outrage, helped secure passage of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, a law that instituted the strongest and most comprehensive occupational safety and health protections ever enacted in the United States.

On Friday, November 20, we commemorate the 47th Anniversary of this tragedy. On Sunday, November 15th, MSHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretaries travelled to a ceremony at the Farmington Memorial to commemorate the anniversary.

For more information:
Read Assistant Secretary Joe Main’s column
Read the Department of Labor’s blog post – The Legacy to End Black Lung Continues

Photo from the day of the Farmington Mine disaster in 1968
Wreath placed at the memorial for the Farmington victims.
Crowd gathers for memorial ceremony honoring the victims of the 1968 Farmington Coal Mine disaster which claimed 78 miners.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations Pat Silvey speaks at Farmington memorial.
Survivor places wreath at memorial for victims of Farmington Mine disaster.
United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts, center, with, from left, Monique Molina, MSHA management analyst, MSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Laura McClintock, and MSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations Pat Silvey.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Silvey places wreath at Farmington memorial.
Smoke billows from the Farmington Mine in 1968 after deadly explosion