Friedman said miners typically work 47 to 48 hours a week, doing multiple shifts of 10 to 12 hours, which is above the national average for workers, which is about 38 hours a week. Miners often work in shifts, and may work for 10 days at a time. Some go down before dawn and return seven to 12 hours later. Today, miners often work four, five or even seven 12-hour days, followed by four or five days off, followed by four or five 12-hour nights.
Today, miners can work shifts of up to 14 hours, but in extenuating circumstances a shift can increase to 16 hours. Miners typically work long shifts of 10 to 14 consecutive days, with some days off between shifts. The remote location of mining operations requires some miners to remain in the mining camp for months before returning home. A typical 12-hour shift can also be difficult to endure, especially underground.
Whereas miners used to be highly skilled, many of today's miners are actually unskilled workers (euphemistically called "multi-skilled") supervised by a group of highly skilled electrical and mechanical engineers.