Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Mr. MOSGROVE. All I know is just what I read in the papers, Congressman.

Mr. PERKINS. Yes. And I believe that in 1946, we passed a compulsory workmen's compensation act in Kentucky. That

is a bill which originated in the senate in Kentucky, and it made it mandatory on the employers to operate under the workmen's compensation act, and in the event they failed to do so, provided a penalty. And during the same session of the general assembly, a bill that originated in the house at a later date was enacted into law which provided that an employer did not have to accept the provisions of the workmen's compensation act if he elected not to do so, but that he must file a financial responsibility statement with the commissioner of industrial relations that he ' would take care of any common law judgment that might be rendered against him in the event he elected not to operate under the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Thereafter some fellow who was operating a saw-mill contended that he did not want to operate under the Workmen's Compensation Act but that he wanted to operate under the Financial Responsibility Act. He set out in his petition that he could not file his financial liability statement with the commissioner of industrial relations without violating the compulsory provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act.

The court of appeals in construing the two acts held that the latter act which was enacted repealed the compulsory provisions of the workmen's compensation law; that is, the compulsory statute that was enacted during the same session of the general assembly.

We do not have a compulsory workmen's compensation statute in Kentucky. Prior to 1946, when such enactment had been made, the court of appeals held that it violated certain provisions of the Constitution, which I will not take time to discuss here, and therefore the employer could not be held to accept any such contract.

But in the case that I just mentioned, the sawmill case, the court of appeals said that it was not necessary for them to discuss the constitutionality of the workmen's compulsory compensation statute, inasmuch as this later act which was enacted by this same session of the general assembly automatically repealed the prior compulsory workmen's compensation statute.

With those circumstances existing in Kentucky, do you not think that we need more mine safety, and do you not think that you will get better cooperation if H. R. 3023 is enacted into law?

Mr. MOSGROVE. Congressman, that is debatable. Any coal miner and his family deserve protection in the form of compensation and any other form of safety. That is what I am driving at. Whether or not this bill will attain that is debatable. God knows that I live with the coal miners. I was raised with them. I was one myself. I worked in the coal mine myself at the age of 15. You only have to live with men and you only have to make these investigations and make a study of the matter, as I have and others connected with safety, to determine what you think would be the right safety measures or what could be done.

Gentlemen, when you see that most of your accidents are caused and I believe the Bureau will agree with me—by human failures, would it not be nice if the Bureau of Mines would just give us some

more help from the educational standpoint? As I told you, we have

Mr. PERKINS. Will the gentleman yield at that point? If they give you assistance from an educational standpoint, they have given you assistance in the furtherance of mine safety, have they not?

Mr. MosGROVE. That is right, sir.

Mr. PERKINS. And, if they are clothed with more authority, they can give you more assistance in averting deaths that occur from hazardous mines; is that not the logical conclusion?

Mr. MosGROVE. It seems to me, Congressman, that at times you can overlegislate and undereducate. You know, you have traffic violations every day. They all know what to do, right in Washington here. Those fellows surely know the traffic regulations. Of course, that is beside the point. But, if there is one thing that will help to improve mine safety, that is my job. I am for it.

Mr. PERKINS. Yes.

Mr. MosGROVE. I may be called bad names at times, gentlemen, but I will assure you that I am for mine safety. The coal operators pay me for that particular job. I do not know; I hope that I am doing a good job. I want to do it.

Mr. PERKINS. You say, then, you agree with me and I agree with you, that we need more education to bring about better mine-safety regulations and laws. And if we have better education, at the same time and simultaneously therewith the people who are promoting that education should have the authority to put that education into practice in order to save lives.

Do you not think that those factors go hand in hand ?

Mr. MostroVE. I still say, Congressman, that education will go further than legislation. I believe, and I am sure, that you cannot legislate safety. After all, there is the human factor. I will grant you that we need a certain amount of legislation; yes. We have a State Department. And if you will read your code, which you have, you will find that it and the Kentucky mining law do not agree on all points. The Kentucky mining law says that the mine must be inspected by the mine examiner or the fire boss 3 hours before the shift begins. The code says 4 hours. Well, you have those variations there that cause the men not to know what they are doing.

Now, I would say that if any State needed Federal inspection to help it and wanted to ask for it, very good.

Mr. PERKINS. It is necessary for us to legislate in order to bring about education. At the same time, how can you say it is not necessary for us to legislate to bring about better safety?

Mr. MosGROVE. We already have our mine-safety laws to govern that in Kentucky; it seems to me it would be like two traffic cops at one intersection trying to goven traflic with different yardsticks or different directions.

Mr. PERKINS. I do not think there is any comparison there in any sense of the word; but, if there is any disagreement between the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Mines that the mine is unsafe and that lives are endangered unless that particular section in that particular mine is remedied, do you not think that the Federal inspec. tor, if such a situation like that did present itself, should have the authority to tell the owners of the mine that they must remedy the situation, and they must stop working until it can be remedied. And if

the operator disobeys the order and men lose their lives, which often happens down in Kentucky and which has happened even since this Public Law 49 has been enacted, and lives were lost, do you not think that, in order to save lives, the Federal mine inspector should have that authority when that situation exists?

Mr. MOSGROVE. You mean, over the State men?

Mr. PERKINS. Yes, if they want to disagree on as important a factor as that, certainly. At the same time, the Statė man has that right.

Mr. MosGROVE. Congressman, I gave you an instance a while ago where the

Mr. PERKINS. Now, you just answer my question. I am just asking you if a double check is not better than a single check from a standpoint of preserving human lives, which we need to preserve in a hazardous occupation.

Mr. MosGROVE. If at any time any legislation would save lives, Congressman, I am for it.

Mr. PERKINS. That is all.

Mr. MosGROVE. But I am just wondering whether it would, in that case.

Mr. PERKINS. That is all.
Mr. KELLEY. Mr. McConnell?

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. Mosgrove, you are the safety director of an association of 36 coal-mining companies; so I imagine you have had a good deal of experience in the field. How long have you been in this particular position?

Mr. MosGROVE. I have been with the Big Sandy-Elkhorn Coal Operators' Association for 1 year.

Mr. McCONNELL. I thought you had had several years' experience.

Mr. MosGROVE. I have had several years' experience in safety work. I have had approximately 6 or 8 years.

Mr. McCONNELL. Do you have a record of the accidents occurring in these companies over a period of years? Do you have it available?

Mr. MosGROVE. Not available. But I do have them on file. I keep a statistical record each month of the entries, the frequency and the severity standings of the companies. Each month we keep a company standing to show this particular company how is stands with respect to safety as compared to other companies.

Mr. McCONNELL. How many accidents have there been during the past, say, 10 years?

Mr. MOSGROVE. Congressman, that would be hard for me to say, because I do not have those figures at my fingertips.

Mr. McCONNELL. Do you have them for 5 years?
Mr. MOSGROVE. No, sir; I do not have any figures with me.

Mr. McCONNELL. Do you have any general grouping as to the types of accidents in those statistics that you say you have in your office?

Mr. MosGROVE. For the last year, I did try to classify the types of accidents. I did not know whether it would be worth anything or not. But for the year 1948 we had 17 fatalities to member companies of the Big Sandy-Elkhorn Coal Mining Institute. I will read those off to you:

Rolled over a locomotive under low roof.
Caught by fall of roof, 13.
Crushed between radio box and roof-that is, of a locomotive.
Thrown from and crushed by wrecked locomotive.
Electrocuted by feeder line.

Mr. BAILEY. I can understand those timber violations now.

Mr. MOSGROVE. That was the reason, Congressman, why it was hard for me to understand that there were so few in comparison with the others, because each month I take the State inspector's investigation. I write up on a red card the name of the person, the date of the accident, and all that, and I send that red card to each of my coal companies. They place that on a bulletin board so that all of the men can see that and take warning from it to be more careful themselves. That is sent out immediately after each fatal accident. We do not hide anything. We send it out.

We send it out. We make it public, if one of our coal companies has a fatal accident. We have nothing to hide. We want safety, too.

Mr. McCONNELL. Now, Mr. Mosgrove, of those accidents—and most of them seem to be due to falling roofs—how many were due to failure of the companies to comply with the requirements of the safety laws?

Mr. MOSGROVE. I can read here from the investigation what it says, if I may have the time: Rolled over locomotive. Evidently not facing direction of travel. Mr. McCONNELL. That would be a human carelessness accident?

Mr. MOSGROVE. I would rather not interpret it. I will leave that to you gentlemen.

Loose roof; not timbered; insufficient safety posts; sudden reversing of locomotive caused wreck. Not standing in clear when slate was pulled. Failure to examine roof. Did not ride where required by rules.

Mr. McCONNELL. You say, "Failure to examine roof.” Failure by whom?

Mr. MOSGROVE. By foreman and man.
Insufficient timbering in the working place.
No examining roof after blasting.
Inattention to surroundings.
Knocking timber from under loose roof with hammer.
Insufficient safety posts.
No safety posts set at the face.
Inadequate testing of roof by workman, 2.
Evidently by knocking post from under loose roof.
Insufficient timbering at the face.
Those were the causes.

Mr. McCONNELL. Have you checked in any way whether the Federal Bureau has brought certain of those accident hazards to the attention of the company prior to their happening?

Mr. MOSGROVE. No, sir; I have not checked.
Mr. MCCONNELL. You have not checked that?

Mr. MosGROVE. If I understand correctly, the Federal Government does not make investigations of single fatal accidents.

Mr. McCONNELL. No. But they have inspected these mines, I presume, prior to the accidents.

Mr. MOSGROVE. Oh, yes.

Mr. McCONNELL. And did they call attention to hazards that might exist? Did they call the company's attention to them?

Mr. MOSGROVE. I do not have that in my records.

Mr. McCONNELL. Now, here you speake of the code. I presume you mean the Federal Mine Inspection Code; is that right?

Mr. MOSGROVE. Yes, sir.

Mr. McCONNELL. You just say "This code is vague and indefinite, causing many misunderstandings and is certainly not written in such a way as to cover the whole mining industry of the United States."

Would you explain that just a little, to be a little more definite and a little more explicit in your statement ?

Mr. MosGROVE. That will require me to go through the code and pick out a few of the things in it. May I have the time?

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. Chairman, in order to save time of the committee, may I suggest that the witness develop his statement more explicitly and submit the evidence to the committee to be included in the hearings if that is agreeable to the chairman.

Mr. KELLEY. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. MOSGROVE. Very well, sir.
(The material referred to is as follows:)
BIG SANDY-ELKHORN COAL OPERATORS ASSOCIATION,

Pikeville, Ky., June 21, 1949. Hon. AUGUSTINE KELLEY,

House of Representatices, Washington, D. O. SIR: The attached three sheets contain the words and phrases contained in the Federal Mine Safety Code for Bitiuminous-Coal and Lignite Mines of the United States that seem vague or indefinite.

This is as requested by the committee to be entered with my testimony against the proposed legislation (H. R. 3023) to give Federal inspectors police powers. You can readily see that the underscored words and phrases could be interpreted differently by different persons, and it would seem that it would be giving the Federal inspector quite a bit of power if all this is left to his discretion. I trust that you and the committee will give this your consideration. Very truly yours,

J. H. MOSGROVE,

Safety Director.

WORDS OR PHRASES THAT SEEM VAGUE OR INDEFINITE IN THE FEDERAL MINE SAFETY

CODE FOR BITUMINOUS-COAL AND LIGNITE MINES OF THE UNITED STATES Page 2, article 1, section 1. In dusty locations, electric motors, switches, and controls shall be of dusttight construction.

Structures shall be kept free of coal-dust accumulations.

Where coal is dumped at or near air-intake openings, reasonable provisions shall be made to prevent the dust from entering the mine.

Where repairs are being made to the plant, proper scaffolding and proper overhead protection shall be provided for workmen wherever necessary.

Page 3, article 1, section 2, Naphtha or other flammable liquids in lamp houses shall be kept in approved containers or other safe dispensers.

When not in service, flame safety lamps and electric cap lamps shall be under the charge of a responsible person.

Good housekeeping shall be practiced in and around mine buildings and yards.

Page 4, article 11, section 1. Smoking in or about surface structures shall be restricted to places where it will not cause fire or an explosion.

Unless existing structures located within 100 feet of any mine opening are of reasonably fireproof construction, fire doors shall be erected at effective points in mine openings *

Page 7, article IV, section 1. Surface magazines for storing and distributing high explosives in amounts exceeding 125 pounds shall be:

1. Reasonably bulletproof and constructed or incombustible material or corered with fire-resistive material.

Page 8, article IV, section 1. Provided with doors constructed of 3-inch steel plate lined with a 2-inch thickness of wood, or the equivalent.

Page 12, article IV, section 3. Explosives and detonators shall be transported underground by belt only under the following conditions:

1. In the original and unopened case, in special closed cases constructed of nonconductive material, or in suitable individual containers.

Suitable loading and unloading stations shall be provided.

*

« AnteriorContinuar »