This is what they called industrial waste in those days.
Children were cheap labor in the mines. This boy spent 10 hours a day in that outfit with only the light from that tallow wick lamp. He cleaned & played the part of a “canary” (kids were easier to replace than good miners). He was probably Finnish or Swedish & indentured to the company for the purpose of paying his fathers debts. The unions fought bloody battles to get these children out of the coal mines. This little guy worked (& likely died) in Utah or Colorado mines / Scott Cooper
via Kayak Girl