IT is instructive to visit the NSW Resources Regulator's website to get an understanding of the risks faced by miners at their work.
Amongst the links are the weekly incident summaries, where the regulator documents reportable incidents from mines across the state under headings including "critical", "severe" and "elevated".
In the week ending August 30 there were 25 incidents in NSW mines that had to be reported, including three dangerous incidents.
In one case a mine employee received an electric shock while a contracting company conducted high voltage tests.
In another dangerous incident an operating dozer working on a slope lost traction and became stuck after underestimating the slope's grade and how the hard and slippery surface would make reversing impossible. The driver escaped but the risk of injury, or worse, was significant.
In a third incident a damaged continuous miner cable arced when a worker picked it up to move it. The continuous miner had previously tripped and the fault was reset. In that case the regulator warned that mines must have systems in place for routine inspections, as well as after identified faults.
On Sunday the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union held its 24th annual memorial day service for the more than 1800 lives lost in the Northern District coalfields since 1801.
It was Labor leader Anthony Albanese who delivered the keynote speech and its lament for the mine worker who died in the past year. Quinton Moore, 37, went to work as a contractor at Muswellbrook's Bengalla mine on November 3, 2018, and did not return home. He was killed while undertaking tyre maintenance.
Mr Albanese called the list of more than 1800 names at Aberdare's Jim Comerford memorial wall "the saddest of rolls", and he is right.
Coal was identified in the Newcastle area within two short years of white settlement in Sydney in 1788. It has provided jobs for an extraordinary number of people in more than two centuries, and has established the Hunter as an economic driver of the NSW economy.
But the industry has also taken its toll in the lives lost to produce that wealth. There is absolutely no doubt that mine safety has significantly improved, and is always improving. But one life lost in a Hunter mine in the past year is one too many.