stseal.gif (23430 bytes) West Virginia Office of Miners' Health Safety & Training

Stay Out Stay Alive! Child Safety Program


Mining is an important part of the West Virginia economy. Most of the electricity used in this state comes from coal. Sand, gravel, limestone and other rock products are a major resource in construction and are economically vital in certain areas of the state. Almost every county in West Virginia has or has had some type of mining activity. These mines range from large underground mining complexes, to small sand and gravel dredging operations and include all types of surface structures and equipment. Every type of facility poses it’s own unique risks for kids (and adults).

Active and abandoned mine sites have proven to be an irresistible and sometimes deadly attraction for children and adults. For example:  Haulroads have become popular spots for all-terrain vehicles. Stock piles and gob (coal waste) piles are a challenge to climb. Quarry pits and sediment ponds at surface mines are often used as swimming holes. Unsealed abandoned mines have always attracted the adventurous child and adult. And who isn’t fascinated by huge mining equipment or by railroad trains?


  • Mine haulroads have been the scene of many all-terrain vehicle accidents.
  • Several children have been injured climbing piles of coal, gravel or gob.
  • There have been drownings in abandoned quarry pits and sediment ponds.
  • On numerous occasions individuals have been overcome and poisoned by gases while exploring abandoned underground mines.
  • Unused or abandoned mining equipment poses many risks. Every year children and adults are struck by trains.

We hope the activity pages (linked in the left hand column) may help to illustrate some of the dangers associated with these types of facilities. Note:  these pages may take some time to load. Feel free to print them out and copy them for your students.

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training is proud to provide this information to the citizens of West Virginia. This program is a joint effort by the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training, the US Department of Labor, Mine Safety & Health  Administration and other mining states and in conjunction with sponsors from the mining industry.

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Meet Safe-T-Miner. He is the symbol for all things dangerous around inactive and abandoned mines in West Virginia.  We want children to recognize Safe-T-Miner  as a warning sign of danger.  Use the linked activity pages to help children learn some of the dangers which can be found in and around abandoned and inactive mining facilities.


Mining Equipment: Stay away from these big trucks and tractors.
Explosives: Stay away from dynamite and blasting caps.
Warning Signs: Know the signs found around mines and quarries.
Coal Trains: Playing near train tracks can be dangerous.
Stockpiles: Coal piles and rock piles are not for climbing.
Ponds and Pits: Never swim in sediment ponds and abandoned mining pits.
Haulroads and Bikes: Don't ride on haulroads!


Highwalls: Stay away from highwalls.
Additional Information and Contacts: Several sources for more information.
EXTRA: Coal Products Tree: Coal products affect our lives in many ways.  


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