Comments: 64 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

Rednamlooc9 karma

Do you like your job? Or would you prefer another job? How dangerous is your job? I am from Germany, so I don't know the standarts in the US.

jpfoster2313 karma

I actually really enjoy my job. I get paid well and I don't have to deal with Colorado climates. (Sucks when is nice outside)

I've done all kinds of surveying the past 12 years, can't say it's the best type, but I can say is not the worst.

Very spooky as a newbie working downstairs. But I'm becoming more careful and accustomed to the creaks and groans of mother earth. Just tonight I had a roof collapse less that 6' (just under 2 meters) away.

We have a workers protection entity in the US called MSHA (Mining Safety Health Association) so it's over the top regulated. We see go to the last legal area in every section, everyday. Nobody can go as far in as us.

kepleronlyknows5 karma

I've worked as an instrument operator for a surveying crew in Colorado for a few years. I hear you on climate, nothing worse than trying to spud bar through two feet of frozen ground just to find that what you thought was a property corner was just a piece of trash!

I'm curious how different the whole system is in a mine. Is it essentially regular land surveying just underground, or is it pretty different?

jpfoster231 karma

Everything is on the roof so our plummets face up. Also, we rarely use equipment. Maybe once a week. Or daily routine is hang a light on a string we've set previously, then a reflective 12" nail on one closer to the face, then hang a new string lining up on the light and nail line of sight.

Rednamlooc1 karma

Did you do anything else before you got a miner? How productive is your mine and do you have any worries you will loose your job? Do you have family? If so, are they scared when you are down there?

jpfoster234 karma

I've done cadastral, construction, mining claims and civil design...among others.

We're nowhere where they used to be, but we sell roughly 5 million tons a year.

I'm very curious what the future holds...😕

My family doesn't exactly root me on, but I feel safe, so it helps them calm down.

-ooottafvgvah1 karma

I'm just a layman spouting rumor, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but I've heard bad things about the MSHA. Things like how its regulations have been barely updated since the '70s, and how it hasn't actually decreased the rate of death and injury per capita, and how it's easy for those in charge to sidestep most of the regulations.

Here in West Virginia, we see less black lung, for example, but that's because there are fewer folks working in mines. We're actually seeing more PMF (progressive massive fibrosis, the end-stage of black lung) because the few guys still working in the mines are working more demanding hours without the proper PPE.

How many of my assumptions are wrong? What is actually involved in a safety inspection? Who conducts these inspections? And how often do red flags come up?

jpfoster232 karma

We have safety guys on site all day everyday, and MSHA is here several times a week. I try to stay away from them as much as possible, but I know they keep it safer than is probably necessary.

I'm just a surveyor, I don't deal with MSHA except my retraining.

3rdUncle3 karma

What is the future of coal and other fossil fuels? Do these actually cause damage to the environment?

jpfoster232 karma

Eventually they will go under, at least in the US, but it's still a cheap and fairly clean energy source.

That's an environmental guy's call.

sgtkickarse3 karma

Is there really an underground container with enough food and supplies to last you until rescue teams come in the case of a cave in? (sorry for the long question)

jpfoster233 karma

Yes. We have several Refuge Bays in all the sections and escape routes. We also have SCSR (self contained self resuers) caches as well.

boots12163 karma

Do you travel to inspect mines, or do you stay in one State or area? Are there any difference between Anthracite and Bit coal mines?

jpfoster232 karma

I stay at one mine. Anthracite is a bit higher quality and drier I believe.

Aq023 karma

What techniques do you use to survey the mine, and how do you present it?

jpfoster232 karma

We use line of sight with strings on the roof, then verify later with conventional robotic surveying of those strings.

ArrogantMalus-1 karma

OP is an ass clown.

jpfoster232 karma


une_personne2 karma

I just graduated with a mining engineering degree. Given the current mining markets along with personal interest, I'm thinking about going into surveying. What advice do you have for someone looking to do this? I have a little experience in underground surveying through school.

jpfoster232 karma

I would try to get as much surveying experience as you can. There's no real trick to underground its just everything is on the roof with strings.

MegaProtestAndMe1 karma

What's the worst thing you've seen happen?

jpfoster232 karma

Guy fall of a ladder and break his leg.

BossHogGangsta1 karma

No boot wash when you got off the cage?

jpfoster231 karma

We drive in and out, and that was before I went to the bath house. We have a separate office.

ScooRoo1 karma

How tall is the seam you're in?

jpfoster231 karma

8-10 feet

JayamHD1 karma

How would someone like me get into a job like that?

jpfoster231 karma

Get experience surveying and apply. Worked for me!

ryancoon821 karma

I just got my PS in ohio. Can I apply for a coal mine surveying position or do I need extra training/school/state board qualification?

jpfoster231 karma

Nope, just 40 hours of MSHA training

_perpetual_student_1 karma

What is your favorite story to tell about life on the job?

How hot do you like your peppers since you live in the SouthWest?

jpfoster231 karma

I'm still fairly fresh to the gig, but I like that as soon as I was hired, they saw that I had ways to improve accuracy so they hopped right on it.

I do like me some spicy peppers!

dirtyseaotter1 karma

How big are these tunnels or underground cavities you are in? Are any of your colleagues clostrophobic?

Edit: I started feeling clostrophobic and trapped just thinking about this question. Going outside now.

jpfoster232 karma

Ours is big. The tunnels are supposed to be around 20' wide by 8-12 high.

Collin_morris1 karma

What is your opinion on the political aspect of coal?

Who is the best political candidate in terms of coal, whether you think that is the ones fighting to keep it, fighting for easier transition, or fighting to end its usage?

Do you have a backup plan for when coal is done?

Are you to any extent an environmentalist?

jpfoster231 karma

What is your opinion on the political aspect of coal? I'm a 3rd generation coal guy, so I'm a fan. Good pay, good energy, pretty darn clean. Who is the best political candidate in terms of coal, whether you think that is the ones fighting to keep it, fighting for easier transition, or fighting to end its usage? Any republican.

Do you have a backup plan for when coal is done? I've done surface surveying for 12 years prior to this. Are you to any extent an environmentalist? I love the environment! I'm very outdoorsy and graduated with a geology degree.

ttoastt1 karma

What company do you work for? Assume your mine is room and pillar? What company's equipment do you use?

jpfoster231 karma

Peabody currently but the mine is being sold to Bowie soon. (I think)

We use Leica and Trimble S6

ScooRoo1 karma

What kind of transportation do you use? Is it the tack and trolley line or can you run Diesel engines?

What kind of electric power system do you use? (Voltage, AC or DC)

jpfoster231 karma

Diesel Not sure, I don't mess with that stuff

URABUSA0 karma

Is your job likely to become automated in the near future?

jpfoster232 karma

I really don't see how.

ArrogantMalus0 karma

When you're surveying underground, why the fuck won't you ass clowns get out of the way of the buggy drivers? You do realize we give zero shits and will run your ass over, right?

jpfoster232 karma

Hahaha, we time it so we're downstairs during the down window.


You took some bird's job. How does that make you feel?

jpfoster237 karma

I don't test the air, I just measure how far they get and keep them straight. We have monitors on our person that test the air.