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.