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10 Things You May Not Have Noticed In The Coal Premiere

by MHofstatter   March 28, 2011 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 14,211
Last night Spike premiered our latest original series, Coal. The reviews are in, and with the first episode now available on Spike.com, there's probably still some part of you thinking, "Did I miss something the first time around?" Have no fear. 10 things you didn't know about the first episode of Coal are about to be revealed.

coal article

10. Cobalt Coal This Welch, West Virginia-based mining corporation is a publicly traded company on the Canadian Stock Market (TSX) as their head office is located in Calgary, Alberta. Their stock symbol is: CBT.

9. Outside Man Kenny Hughes, who works the night, takes on the role of "outside man," one of the miners that perform various tasks that are required for continued production. They also maintain and service the stacker, the outside drive, the conveyors, and other surface structures. Additionally, he maintains the supply yard, services and repairs the mantrips, while monitoring the coal stockpile. He reports directly to the shift foreman or supervisor/superintendent.

8. MHSA When young Andrew Christian, Jr. backs the continuous miner up against the tunnel wall, the power cable becomes jammed and heavily frayed in the process, causing a delay in the digging. The other miners quickly tape it up with a special tape labeled with the letters MHSA, and then the miners get back to work. MHSA stands for Mine Health and Safety Administration and is the organization that oversees miners safety in the United States and has been since 1978.

7. Payday In the first episode of Coal, we see the miners on payday. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the average wage of a miner in the private industry is about $18 an hour, and a USA Today article in 2006 stated the average yearly earnings of a West Virginia miner is $64,000 a year.

6. Work Shifts In Coal, you saw the miners split into day shifts and night shifts. Day shifts typically start at 7am and run until 4pm, when the night shift starts. The night shift runs until 2am. As the night shift works a longer day, they only work four days a week. Meanwhile, the day shift will work a shortened fifth day to compensate and obtain the forty-hour work week.

5. Miner Crews There is no hard and fast rule as to how many miners can be on a shift, however, a minimum of at least ten miners is required. Their roles can vary, but you will always see a shift foreman, an electrician, a continuous miner operator, a miner helper, a bolter operator, and a shuttle car operator at all times. Additionally, you can find an outby man, an outside man, as well as various supervisors on the clock.

4. Upper Laurel At the end of the episode, miner Hank Toler is taken away in an Upper Laurel ambulance. Upper Laurel Fire & Ambulance, Inc. is located in Sabine, West Virginia and is a non-profit, dual-role emergency services agency serving both Wyoming and McDowell counties in southern West Virginia. Welch, the town in which Cobalt Coal is located, resides within McDowell county.

3. Superintendent JC Woolridge, who serves as the superintendent for the Westchester mine, has the responsibility of giving instructions to workers at the mine site and is responsible for and helps ensure employees follow company rules on safety, performance, and conduct as defined in the employee handbook. He also makes sure that no employees do a job that appears unsafe and ensures employees learning new tasks are given proper job and hazard awareness training upfront. A superintendent can also administer discipline and penalties, however they do not have “hire and fire” authority.

2. Certification Andy Christian, Sr. and his son Andrew, Jr. were forced off site because they did not have their certification paperwork in order. In 2009, the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training issued 15,000 certifications in 31 different categories. At the same time, the office issued 16,000 written violations during 5,900 inspections.

1. Theme Song The opening theme song of Coal is performed by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and is called "Ain't No Easy Way." You can download it here.

Those are only 10 things you may not have noticed or known about the premiere episode of Coal. Still missing out on something? Then be sure to tune in next Wednesday at 10PM/9c for an all-new episode, and keep an eye out for exclusive content and updates on Spike.com…and don't forget to follow Coal on Facebook and Twitter.