This picture is of a coal mine in West Virginia; the publication it was in was dated 1946, where it was presented as an example of ‘the bad old days.’ I found it in an old copy of the quarterly employee magazine of Eastern Gas and Fuel Associates, a holding company which used to have a very large vertically-integrated slice of the American coal industry– they owned coal mines, railroads, a fleet of colliers (coal transport ships), coking plants, blast furnace plants for making pig iron, and even a chain of general stores in mining towns.  They even owned Boston Consolidated Gas Company — this was back when gas was still mostly made out of coal, so for Eastern to own a major gas company made a lot of sense. When natural gas came along in the ’50s, Eastern Gas and Fuel promptly bought ownership stakes in the gas pipeline companies.

This was decades before the phrase “Safety First” was coined, but even so, the mining and transportation industries carry a lot of known hazards with them and Eastern Gas and Fuel evidently made a point of contrasting the ‘bad old days’ above with the image of a modern industrial company, for example the following page on drum handling, from another issue:


That’s still pretty good advice, even sixty years later.  So is “Don’t get hurt” for that matter, but we’re a lot more sophisticated about it lately.