The Senghenydd Colliery Disaster occurred on 14 October 1913 when sparks from equipment ignited methane gas and coal dust within the mine shaft. 439 miners were killed.
In the early days of coal mining, mine explosions were common. Mines of this era lacked the extensive ventilation and filtration systems that protect modern miners from such explosions.
The British government took control of the coal mining industry in Britain in 1947. Technological advances of the twentieth century have greatly improved the working conditions and safety of miners, who now have access to spark-free electric lamps. The advent of longwall mining has improved the structural safety of mine shafts. Electronic hazardous gas monitors and generator-powered ventilation systems now remove methane gas and coal dust from the shafts of mines, reducing the incidence of explosions and of such mining-related illnesses as black lung. However, coal mining remains a very dangerous occupation.