Monitoring of roof activity is a primary measure adopted in the prevention of roof collapse accidents and functions to optimize and support the design of roadways in underground coalmines. However, traditional monitoring measures, such as using mechanical extensometers or electronic gauges, either require arduous underground labor or cannot function properly in the harsh underground environment. Therefore, in this paper, in order to break through this technological barrier, a novel monitoring system for roof safety control in underground coal mining, using fiber Bragg grating (FBG) material as a perceived element and transmission medium, has been developed. Compared with traditional monitoring equipment, the developed, novel monitoring system has the advantages of providing accurate, reliable, and continuous online monitoring of roof activities in underground coal mining. This is expected to further enable the prevention of catastrophic roof collapse accidents. The system has been successfully implemented at a deep hazardous roadway in Zhuji Coal Mine, China. Monitoring results from the study site have demonstrated the advantages of FBG-based sensors over traditional monitoring approaches. The dynamic impacts of progressive face advance on roof displacement and stress have been accurately captured by the novel roadway roof activity and safety monitoring system, which provided essential references for roadway support and design of the mine.