Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Mr. KELLEY. That may be done.

(The document referred to is as follows :) A BILL (suggested] To amend the Act of May 7, 1941 (55 Stat. 177; 30 U. S. C., sees.

41-40), relating to inspections and investigations in coal mines, and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Act of May 7, 1941 (55 Stat. 177; 30 U. S. C., secs. 47-40), is hereby amended by inserting between sections 6 and 7 thereof a new section to be numbered section 6 (A), reading as follows:

“SEC. 6 (A) Whenever an authorized coal-mine inspector of the Bureau of Mines finds in any coal mine which is subject to inspection under this Act any conditions which in his opinion constitute an imminent and serious danger to employees in the mine, he shall by oral or written order require the operator or his representative to withdraw all employees other than those necessary to correct such unsafe conditions from the unsafe area until such danger is elim inated. Any operator or operator's representative who receives or who has notice of such order of withdrawal, whether oral or written, shall immediately comply with it. The posting of a copy of the order at or near the mine entrance and the delivery of a copy thereof at a mine office on the premises, while the mine is in operation, shall be evidence that the operator and his representative at the mine have notice of the order as of the time of such posting and delivery. After such withdrawal is ordered, the operator or his representative shall not permit any employees other than those necessary to correct such unsafe conditions to remain in or to enter upon the area specified in the order until the unsafe conditions specified in the order have been corrected. A certificate in writing by a coal-mine inspector of the Bureau of Mines or by the Director of the Bureau of Mines or his authorized representative shall be evidence of the correction of the unsafe condition or conditions. Any operator or his representative who willfully fails to obey any such order of withdrawal, or who willfully permits employees other than those necessary to correct such unsafe conditions to remain in or to enter upon the area specified in the order, prior to the correction thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,000 or by imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or both. Nothing in this Act shall be construed or operate to prevent the several States and Territories from making or enforcing laws or regulations not inconsistent with this Act or which afford other or further protection to employees in coal mines."

Mr. FORBES. That is all I have.

Mr. KELLEY. Mr. Forbes, I know your testimony will help us a great deal in the consideration of this measure. I know from your vast experience you have an unusual knowledge of this subject. I also know

you

have done a very fine job. I know of no one more able to talk on mine safety.

Mr. FORBES. Thank you very much, Mr. Kelley. I have spent my life in it. The only purpose we have in the Bureau of Mines is the safety of miners and mine officials and to prevent fatalities and injuries.

Mr. KELLEY. I have known of your work ever since you came with the Bureau in 1915.

Mr. FORBES. I have been there a long time.
Mr. KELLEY. Thank you very much.
(The prepared statement of Mr. Forbes is as follows:)

STATEMENT OF J. J. FORBES, CHIEF, HEALTH AND SAFETY DIVISION, BUREAU OF

MINES

My name is J. J. Forbes, Chief, Health and Safety Division, Bureau of Mines, Department of the Interior. I have been in the employ of the Bureau engaged in safety and health work for over 34 years. I worked in coal mines, commencing at an early age, as mine laborer, mining engineer, and mine-safety inspector. I was graduated in mining engineering from Pennsylvania State College in 1911. During my employment in the Bureau I inspected mines and furthered safety

educational work in virtually all of the coal- and metal-mining States of the Nation, participated in recovery work and investigations following many mine disasters which involved heavy loss of life, supervised the field work of the Safety Division for 17 years, assisted with establishment of the coal-mine inspection work and served as its first chief.

The Coal Mine Inspection Branch of the Health and Safety Division, Bureau of Mines, was established to carry out an act of Congress, May 7, 1941, Public Law 49, Seventy-seventh Congress, H. R. 2082. Pnder the provisions in the act the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Mines, is authorized and empowered to make or cause to be made annual or necessary inspections and investigations in coal mines. The object of these inspections is to reduce mine accidents by determining the causes of unhealthy or unsafe conditions, accidents, or occupational diseases in coal mines, and making recommendations for their prevention or amelioration. Insofar as Public Law 49 is concerned, compliance with the Federal inspectors' recommendations is not mandatory.

EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONNEL Coal-mine inspectors and engineers of the Coal-Mine Inspection Branch are selected from the civil-service register.

Applicants for the position of coal-mine inspector must meet the rigid requirements set up by the United States Civil Service Commission before their names can be included in the register. These requirements for the several grades of Federal coal-mine inspector are as follows: United States Civil Service Commission requirements for Federal coal-mine

inspectors Sample of work.-Applicants must submit with their application a 250-word description of some phase of coal mining, such as a description of the ventilating system, haulage system, or timbering methods used in a mine familiar to the applicant. The description must be prepared by the applicant and he must certify in his own handwriting that he received no assistance in composing it. Applicants who fail to submit this sample of their work, or who submit unsatisfactory samples, will receive no further consideration.

Experience and qualifications of applicants.-Applicants must show, as a minimum, the quality and amount of experience prescribed below unless they substitute education for experience (see "Substitution of Education for Experience," below). To establish eligibility in any grade, at least 1 year of the required experience for that grade must have been acquired during the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing application. This recency-of-experience requirement will be waived for those applicants whose qualifying experience was interrupted by service in the armed forces of the United States subsequent to May 15, 1940.

CAF-9, $4,479: Six years of progressive experience in practical coal mining, of which at least 2 years must have been specialized experience in coal-mining operations of moderate difficulty, which involved responsibility for providing and applying adequate modern safety and health programs in coal mines in a position of at least the responsibility required of a mine superintendent, mine foreman, mining engineer, or safety inspector. The nature of the experience must have been such as to demonstrate initiative, resourcefulness, and ability to perform important coal mine inspection work under only general supervision.

CAF-11, $5,232: Seven years of progressive coal mining experience of which three or more years must have been specialized experience which required supervision of difficult, important and responsible work, subject only to general supervision and review, in a position of at least the responsibility required of a mine superintendent, mine foreman, mining engineer, or safety engineer. The experience must have included the direction, application, and enforcement of modern coal-mine safety and health programs. This experience must also have demonstrated that the applicant has (1) a thorough knowledge of the basic principles applicable to modern programs for promotion of safety and health in coal mines; (2) the resourcefulness, initiative, and ability to perform, direct, and coordinate moderately large scale mine inspection work of considerable difficulty; and (3) administrative ability, tact, and judgment necessary to conduct conferences in promotion of programs for improved safety, health, and working condition in coal mines.

CAF-12, $6,235: Eight years of progressive experience in the various operations necessary in exploration, development, and production in coal mines, including at least 4 years of very difficult, important, and responsible specialized work which was subject to only general administrative supervision, in a capacity such as direct supervisor. This

work must have included full responsibility for direction and application of modern coal-mine safety and health programs. This experience must have demonstrated that the applicant has (1) a thorough knowledge of the basic principles applicable in modern programs for promotion of health and safety in coal mines; (2) the resourcefulness, initiatives, and ability required in a position of at least the responsibility of mine manager, mine superintendent, mining engineer, or safety engineer; (3) the ability to perform, direct, and coordinate large scale mine inspection work of unusual difficulty; and (4) administrative ability of a high order along with the tact and judgment necessary to conduct important conferences with interested parties, such as coalmine operators, labor organizations, and the general public on matters related to safety and health of workers engaged in coal-mining operations.

Provisions of law: Section 9 of the Coal Mine Inspections and Investigations Act

under which these positions are established provides :

"That in the selection of persons for appointment as coal-mine inspectors no person shall be so selected unless he has the basic qualification of at least 5 years' practical experience in the mining of coal, and is recognized by the United States Bureau of Mines as having the training or experience of a practical mining engineer in those essentials necessary for competent coal-mine inspection."

The provisions of law quoted above are made a part of the requirements of this examination. Persons whose qualifications are not such as to receive the recognition of the United States Bureau of Mines as required by law cannot be accorded an eligible rating in this examination. •

Substitution of education for experience: Successfully completed courses of study in engineering at a college or university of recognized standing may be substituted for part of the required general experience on the basis of 1 year of education for 6 months of experience. Such substitution will be limited to 1 year of required general experience in CAF-9 grade, and to 2 years of required general experience in the CAF-11 and CAF-12 grades.

Ability to drive automobiles : Applicants must give evidence that they can drive an automobile.

Physical ability.-Applicants must be physically capable of performing efficiently the arduous duties of this position. They must be free of such defects or diseases as may constitute employment hazards to themselves, or endanger tellow employees or others. They must be capable of sustained physical exertion for periods of 6 to 8 hours per day under such hazardous conditions as walking over rock falls, steep pitches, adverse atmspheric conditions, and low roof where it is frequently necessary to crawl on the hands and knees. In emergencies following a mine disaster they may be required to work for as long as 2 hours at a time carrying mine rescue apparatus which weighs about 40 pounds. Arms and legs must be sufficiently intact and functioning to permit the applicant to perform the duties described above. Vision must be at least 20/50 Snellen in one eye and 20/70 in the other without glasses. The ability to distinguish basic colors is essential. Hearing, with or without a hearing aid, must be sufficiently acute to enable the applicant to hear ordinary conversation at 20 feet. These standards must be met by all applicants; however, certain requirements may be waived for veterans who can demonstrate ability to perform the duties efficiently and with safety.

In view of the strenuous physical exertion required in this position, hernia (whether or not supported by truss), organic heart disease (whether or not compensated), varicose veins (unless slight), serious deformities or disabilities of extremities (including weak feet), mental or nervous disease, chronic respiratory or chronic constitutional disease or other physical defect which would cause the applicant to be a hazard to himself, or to others, or which would prevent efficient performance of the duties of the position, will disqualify him for appointment.

Applicants will be required to submit a certificate of physical examination made by a doctor designated by the United States Civil Service Commission. The personnel officer has authority to approve medical certificates, but rejection of such certificates may be done only by physicians of the United States Civil Service Commission. Persons who are offered appointment must pay their own erpenses in reporting for duty.

Citizenship.-Applicants must be citizens of or owe allegiance to the United States. Applicants must not have passed their forty-eighth birthday on the date

of filing application. This age limit does not apply to persons entitled to veteran preference. United States Civil Service Commission basic requirements for mining engineers

Applicants for the position of mining engineer must have successfully completed a full 4-year professional curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in an accredited college or university; or have had 4 years of successful and progressive experience in technical engineering comparable to that which would have been acquired through successful completion of a full 4-year engineering curriculum in an accredited college or university. Tentative selection and probational employment

After a coal-mine inspector or engineer has been selected from the civil-service register for possible employment he is interviewed personally by a Bureau of Mines official to determine his fitness for the position. If the interview discloses that the applicant is considered unsuitable for employment, he is no longer considered for the position. If the applicant is considered favorably and has passed the required medical examination, he is given a probational appointment of 1-year duration, and quarterly reports on his performance are submitted to the Washington office of the Bureau of Mines for review. Probationers who do not measure up to the Bureau of Mines standards are dismissed from the service in accordance with civil-service regulations. Experience record of present inspection force

A study of the personnel records of the 247 Federal coal-mine inspectors now employed discloses an average of 23.9 years of experience in coal mines of which 0.2 years represent experience in supervisory capacities.

TRAINING OF PERSONNEL

Inspectors and engineers are given a 4-week intensive course of training at Pittsburgh, Pa., in technical matters and Bureau policy before being assigned to field headquarters. A copy of the training schedule for the group of inspectors and engineers employed in 1948 is included in appendix A of this statement. The training includes lectures and laboratory work covering such vital subjects as mine-rescue training, first-aid training, causes and prevention of mine fires and explosions, mine gases and methods of detection, use of electricity in mines, ventilation, explosives, methods of collecting and analyzing dust and air samples, method of conducting a coal-mine inspection, and method of preparing inspection and investigation reports.

Inspectors who complete the course of training are required to accompany experienced inspectors until they have demonstrated their ability to the supervisory official of the district to conduct inspections without immediate supervision. New inspectors are admonished to go slowly with their first inspections and to be very careful and thorough so hazards are not overlooked. The need for thoroughness is emphasized throughout the training period and is reemphasized from time to time thereafter so there is no misunderstanding of Bureau policy.

A coal-mine inspector of outstanding ability is assigned to each Health and Safety Division field district to assist the district engineer in supervising the coal-mine inspectors under his jurisdiction. They accompany the regular inspectors and instruct them when necessary to improve the quality of their work. The supervisory inspectors report their observations to the district engineer and to the Washington office for critical review and appropriate action.

INSPECTION PROCEDURE

The Federal Mine Safety Code is used as a basis for determining unsafe conditions and practices in bituminous-coal and lignite mines in the United States. The Inspection Standards for Anthracite Mines are used as a basis for determining unsafe conditions and practices in anthracite mines in Pennsylvania. The inspection of a mine may require from a day to several weeks, depending on conditions such as the size of the mine, the thickness and pitch of the coal beds, the system of mining, degree of concentration of working places, and prevalence of hazardous conditions and practices.

The standard procedure for inspecting all coal and lignite mines is as follows: The inspector is instructed and required (a) to inspect every working place in the mine, all active haulageways and travelways, entrances to abandoned workings, accessible old workings, airways, escapeways, and other places where men work or travel or where dangerous conditions may exist, electric equipment and installations, haulage facilities, first-aid equipment, ventilation facilities, communication installations, roof and rib conditions, blasting practices, etc., and (b) to make tests for explosive gas and oxygen deficiency in all mines, and to collect samples of mine air and mine dusts to determine conditions with respect to gas and coal-dust hazards. In multiple-shift operations the inspector devotes part of his time to inspection on each shift. He also inspects the surface plant at each mine.

Each coal-mine inspector is assigned a district composed of mines that he inspects regularly. The assignment of an inspection district to each inspector results in a greater personal interest on the part of the inspector to have the mines under his jurisdiction in the safest condition possible and to keep accidents in them to a minimum. Each inspector is responsible for devising ways and means of reducing accidents in his district by discussing accident-prevention measures with mine personnel and by promoting and attending safety meetings. Each inspector is required to continue to improve the effectiveness of his inspections by:

(a) Determining the outstanding causes of accidents before he begins the inspection of a mine, this information to be used during the inspection to guide him in observing hazards and suggesting ways of eliminating them.

(6) Discussing observed hazards and means of correcting them with (1) the accompanying official at the time the hazards are discovered, (2) the mine-safety committeemen, (3) the higher company officials.

(C) Enlisting the cooperation of labor, management, State inspection personnel, and other safety-promotion agencies.

(d) Spending enough time at the active working faces to observe, wherever practicable, a complete cycle of mining operations, including timbering, cutting, drilling, blasting, loading, and haulage.

(e) Attending local union meetings occasionally to discuss safety with the members and endeavoring to enlist their cooperation in accident prevention.

(f) Participating in mining institutes, Holmes Safety Association chapters and councils, and similar agencies dedicated to the promotion of mine safety.

A preliminary report covering conditions and practices of primary importance with respect to safety is prepared and posted at the mine within 1 day following the completion of an inspection. It is intended to call attention to important unsafe conditions and practices that require immediate correction before the more detailed final report can be prepared. Copies of the preliminary report are typed in the field offices and are distributed to the mine operator, the State inspection agency, the mine workers' organization, and to the Geological Survey if the mine is on the public domain or Indian land.

A final, detailed report is prepared as soon as possible after the completion of an inspection. It contains a record of all observed violations of the Federal Mine Safety Code for Bituminous-Coal and Lignite Mines or the Safety Standards for Anthracite Mines together with practical recommendations for correction of unsafe conditions and practices. Provisions also are made to include recommendations for correcting unusual hazards not specifically covered in the code or anthracite standards. The final reports are typed in the field offices; are reviewed carefully and copies are distributed to the mine operator, the State inspection agency, the mine workers' organization, the Joint Industry Safety Committee if the mine is affiliated with the United Mine Workers of America, and to the Geological Survey if the mine is on the public domain or on Indian land.

Section 6b of the Coal Mine Inspections and Investigations Act of May 7, 1941, provides for publishing information obtained under the act. Therefore a copy of each final inspection report is forwarded to the Office of Mineral Reports, Bureau of Mines, where a press release, covering salient features of the report, is prepared and sent to the newspapers in the area in which the mine is located. Înasmuch as the act delegates no authority to the Federal inspectors to enforce compliance with their recommendations, the publication of information in the reports focuses public attention on the need for safer mining practices and the prevention of injuries to those who produce the Nation's coal supply.

HISTORY OF THE FEDERAL MINE SAFETY CODE Failure of the United Mine Workers of America and the Bituminous Operators' Negotiating Committee to adjust their differences in framing a new work contract in 1946 culminated in seizure of a large segment of the bituminous-coal industry

« AnteriorContinuar »