I imagine that between dust, explosions, cave ins and just the general dangers of working in a heavy industrial operation in the 1980's would be super dangerous. Especially in the Soviet Union, I mean I doubt those guys had a health and safety committee. So a premature death was probably expected for those guys.
I also am interested in general for how people assess risks. A lot of people seem extremely afraid about nuclear power, which although catastrophic if something happens, is pretty rare. Meanwhile people do things that are a lot less catastrophic but are a lot more likely to kill them every day, like driving a car.