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or their right to approve or disapprove a method of work, or the safety of equipment. Their conclusions have always been based on facts which are the result of long and tedious experimentation.
In addition to this, would it seem proper to make them “policemen“ both to make plans and force their compliance? Is this not contrary to our form of Government? We have the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of our Government to take care of this. In my humble opinion, the United States Bureau of Mines would lose prestige. It would not still be looked upon as the high tribunal of coalmine safety, but would be cheapened and be torn by the controversial issues arising from the enforcement problem. I personelly, and all the State mine departments would feel that we had been “kicked downstairs."
Facts and figures of the United States Bureau of Mines show conclusively that coal safety has made more progress in the last 30 years, and particularly since the thirties, than ever before. The industry and the State Mine departments are on their toes; this cannot be questioned. In the past 30 years the fatality rate has dropped from over 5 per million tons mined to slightly over 1. It is unquestionable that the age of mechanization which we are now entering will make mining less hazardous. The cooperation between the United States Bureau of Mines and the State mining departments has always been of the highest type. Why disturb a situation or condition that is getting such good results and has such high hopes for the future in the saving of human lives?
I am opposed to this legislation or any legislation that will vest authority in the Federal Bureau of Mines to police our local mines in my own State of Kentucky, because :
1. I am against the centralization of control of our coal mines, because dictatorial power and control would be placed in the hands of one man, who could misuse this power to the disadvantage of our country, our State, and the industry.
2. In my opinion it would be a clear violation of State rights.
3. I do not believe that a single standard or set of rules can be made to fit all States and their respective mining conditions.
4. We would be given inspectors whose training, experience, and sympathy would be foreign to our State.
5. It would be a duplication of services now rendered by Kentucky and the divided authority would surely result in confusion and misunderstanding
6. I oppose this measure because of singling out the mining industry to be controlled by a Federal bureau when no other industry has such control.
7. The cost of our Government to police the coal mines of our Nation would be greater than to obtain the same results from State inspectors.
8. If the thought behind this move is in the interest of safety, I think the matter is being approached from the wrong angle for I am firmly convinced that you cannot legislate safety.
9. We in Kentucky feel that we are fully able to handle and take care of our own affairs. This is proven by the acts of the general assembly increasing our budget to meet our needs. In 1941 the budget was $25,000. In 1943 the budget was $40,000.
In 1947 the budget was $199,300.
I have been advised by the State administration that adequate funds will continue to be provided to meet the needs of our department.
When I assumed the duties of this office on June 12, 1948, there were 16 inspectors. We have added to these as fast as qualified men could be found, until at the present time we have 30 inspectors, who since January 1, 1949, to June 1, 1949, have made 2,460 inspections and have closed 399 mines. Our inspectors are competent men who have taken an oath to administer the mining laws of our State. Their qualifications as required by law are as follows:
All district mine inspectors and inspectors of mine weights shall have a thorough knowledge of first aid and mine rescue and be able to instruct in first aid and mine rescue, and shall possess thoroughly the knowledge required of the chief of the department by KRS 351.060, and shall have a thorough practical knowledge of mining gained by at least 10 years' experience in and about coal mines, at least 5 of which must have been in and about mines in this State.
No person shall be appointed to the office of district mine inspector until he has passed a satisfactory examination before the board of examiners. The chief of the department of mines and minerals may recommend to the Governor applicants for district mine inspector who have successfully passed the examination are proved by worth, training, and experience to be the most competent of the applicants.
I would like to leave the text to say our Governor has never asked me to hire a man. In every case, the man I have recommended has been appointed.
District mine inspectors and inspectors of mine weights shall be of good moral character and temperate habits and shall not, while holding office, act in official capacity in operating any coal mine.
Section 351.050. Qualifications of chief: (1) The Chief of the Department of Mines and Minerals shall be a male citizen of Kentucky with at least 15 years' mining experience, 10 years of which shall have been in and about the mines of this State. He shall be thoroughly familiar with all methods of safety pertaining to the operation of the mines. (2) The Chief shall have a practical knowl. edge of
(a) The different systems of working and ventilating coal mines.
(6) The nature, chemistry, and properties of noxious, poisonous, and explosive gases, the dangers due to such gases, and the prevention of such dangers.
(c) The dangers incident to blasting and the prevention of such dangers.
(i) The mechanical features of mine scales and the methods used in properly inspecting and testing such scales.
(j) The methods used in locating oil and gas wells when drilled through any coal seam.
(k) The proper manner of drilling and plugging oil and gas wells.
(m) The methods for prevention of explosions in mines due to gas or dust. (3) The chief shall be capable of efficiently reporting on any proposed development in mining operations or the possibility of operating any coal seam.
The department of mines cooperates with the eight mining institutes who cover the entire mining area of Kentucky in promoting our safety program, which consists of:
1. Teaching classes in coal mining to miners.
4. Conducting first-aid and mine-rescue contests in all districts. 5. Furnishing speakers for various safety meetings at mines.
The Kentucky Department of Mines has recently purchased two modern, completely equipped safety trucks. These trucks are mobile mine-rescue stations and will be used for training and in case of emergencies. In addition, the department maintains seven other minerescue stations at centrally located places in the coal fields.
We of the Kentucky Department of Mines know we are making progress toward better safety records and improving the inspection service of the State and we respectfully invite you to inquire of our activities and accomplishments. These should be well known by the Honorable Carl D. Perkins, a member of your committee.
I would like to emphasize that good accident-free experience can only be obtained by providing workmen with a safe, decent working place and the means of keeping it in this condition. Then by cooperative effort and proper supervision see to it that work is performed to the best of their knowledge and ability. If this is done, improvements will be effected.
Further, that in our last published annual report for the Kentucky Department of Mines in 1947 listed 69.86 percent of all fatalities due to falls of roof and coal, while 0.68 percent or less than 1 percent were from mine fires and explosions. This legislation seems to be stressing these minor causes rather than the day-by-day causes that cannot be corrected by legislation.
Our report for 1948 shows that 60.45 percent of our fatalities were from falls of roof and coal, while fires and explosions were 2.24 percent of our fatalities. Our record is gradually improving. As evidence I submit a table from our annual report substantiating this fact.
(The documents referred to are as follows:)
Tonnage produced per casualty for the years of 1890 to 1947, inclusive
Tons produced per fatal acci
Tons produced per fatal acci
1890. 1891. 1892 1893. 1894. 1895. 1896. 1897. 1898 1899. 1900 1901. 1902 1903. 1904. 1905 1906. 1907 1908 1909 1910. 1911. 1912. 1913 1914. 1915 1916. 1917 1918.
2, 701, 496
270, 149 224, 313 275, 027 264, 865 311, 119 419, 721 555, 579 300, 174 647, 985 658, 179 312, 468 287, 894 375, 493 301, 869 401, 952 272, 017 241, 341 336, 035 256, 215 324, 063 175, 238 316, 473 321, 205 404, 787 339, 506 366, 787 337, 236 125, 422 410, 553
1919. 1920. 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928. 1929 1930. 1931 1932 1933 1934. 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939. 1940. 1941 1942. 1943 1944 1945. 1946. 1947.
31, 493, 637 38. 892, 044 30, 282, 659 41, 917, 321 43, 122, 109 43, 387, 732 54. 687, 932 63, 630, 955 69, 923, 979 61, 634, 243 60, 405, 528 50, 953, 910 40, 449, 499 35, 391, 466 36, 448, 207 39, 124, 046 41, 245, 504 47, 694, 862 47, 170, 451 39, 664, 507 42, 310, 995 49, 383, 303 54, 145, 813 63, 463, 706 64, 149, 687 72, 406, 927 70, 236, 031 69, 271, 470 88, 695, 527
114 127 127 126 164 146 191 178 184 174 197 183 104 101
96 114 123 104 141
98 139 130 144 1 59 153 157 126 113 146
276, 259 306, 236 238, 446 332, 677 262, 939 297, 176 286, 324 357, 477 380, 022 354, 219 306, 627 278, 129 388, 937 350, 410 379, 668 343, 193 335, 329 458, 604 334, 542 404, 740 304, 395 379, 872 376, 012 399, 142 419, 279 461, 190 557, 429 613, 022 607, 503
33 84 44 51 48 61 58 75 142 77
Mr. Sisk. This indicates that our greatest possibilities for improving the safety in mines is at the working face. This improvement can come about only by having each individual miner realize his own responsibilities to himself, his family, and his fellow worker. This can be accomplished by education and cooperation and not by legislation,
I would like to submit for the record the casualty report of Kentucky for the first 5 months of 1949.
(The documents referred to are as follows:)
KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF MINES AND MINERALS—CASUALTY BULLETIN,
JANUARY 1949 During 1948, 134 fatal accidents occurred in Kentucky mines. Sixty and fourtenths percent were caused by falls of roof. This is conclusive proof that our timbering is inadequate. Just think what marvelous improvement we could make in our accident record if we would concentrate our attention to timbering near the face regions. All through history, our greatest cause of coal-mine fatalities has been falls of roof.
Let us all give more attention to roof control.
11 JANUARY 4, 1949.
FLOYD COUNTY, STEPHENS ELKHORN FUEL CORP., WILSON CREEK MINE
Addis Pitts, white American brakeman, age 21, with 13 months' mining experience, was killed instantly when run over by a loaded trip. He leaves no dependents.
The accident occurred at the mouth of No. 1 west off No. 1 south.
Pitts was brakeman on a motor which was pulling 11 loaded cars of coal out of the mouth of No. 1 west. They intended to back them up No. 1 south in the clear of No. 1 west switch. Pitts had thrown the switch and apparently tried to get on the bumper of the front car to ride approximately 33 feet. Evidence indicated he was caught 6 feet out by switch points and dragged 15 feet up the entry. One car had passed over his body which caused instant death. His body was found under the second car.
Investigation revealed that there was a clearance of 6 feet between the rail and rib and was unobstructed. The place was 52 inches high and the roof generally level.
Recomendations: That every employee be instructed as to the dangers connected with his job. That brakemen not be allowed to ride on the front bumper of pushed trips.
JANUARY 5, 1949.
HOPKINS COUNTY, WILLIAMS COAL Co., WILLIAMS No. 4
Will Hickman, colored American machine operator, age 53, with 30 years mining experience, Richard Pennington, white American short fireman, age 28, with 3 years' mining experience, and Hugh Gilkey, white American driller, age 48 with 20 years' mining experience, were killed by a fall of rock. Hickman leaves two dependents, Pennington leaves five dependents, and Gilkey leaves two dependents.
The accident occurred near the face of No. 5 room off south off main west.
Pennington, Gilkey, Hickman, and the foreman were in No. 5 room off No. 38 south off main west. This room was approximately 258 feet deep with cross cut left one cut from the face and cross cut right approximately 55 feet from the face. The face of this room had been cut, drilled, and tamped. Cross cut left had been drilled and cut and Hickman had just pulled the machine from under the cut. The shot fireman was preparing to tamp the cross cut. The driller was preparing to set timbers near the face of the room and cross cut left. The mine foreman was sitting against the rib outby cross cut left making a time study on the cutting machine. The machine helper was near the center of the room holding the jack pipe while the machine pulled out from the under cut. A piece of triangular shaped rock measuring approximately 15 feet by 13 feet by 12 feet and 19 inches thick feathering to Omon all sides, fell killing Hickman and Gilky instantly and so severely injuring Pennington that he died en route to the hospital.
The investigation revealed that there were many slips in the roof, one running parallel to the face of No. 5 room and one running at an angle of 45 degrees across No. 5 room. Four roof jacks were set approximately 8 feet from the face across No. 5 room. Four posts were set approximately 5 feet from the face. It was also revealed that there were no jacks or posts set in cross cut left where the largest part of the fall occurred.
Recommendations. That all working faces be temporarily timbered with cross bars of suitable strength at all times. That permanent timber lines be brought forward as temporary bars advance.
JANUARY 7, 1949.
PERRY COUNTY, KATY COAL Co.
Everett Richie, white American brakeman, age 31, with 8 years' mining experience, was so severely injured when caught between a car and a trip that he died 40 minutes later. He leaves six dependents.
The accident occurred in No. 7 right pick-up off south main at the switch points.
This motor crew had taken five empty cars in No. 7 north to change for loads. They pulled off into No. 7 north heading and placed an empty car at the face. Richie had probably blocked the car with two cap wedges. He followed the trip down to the pick-up switch which had no throw on it. Richie was in the middle of the track throwing the switch points by hand. The car which Richie had placed in the heading ran over the blocks and caught Richie, in the act of throwing the switch, against the trip which had stopped in the clear of the switch. Richie received such crushing injuries that he died about 40 minutes later.
Recommendations: That all cars be securely blocked before being cut loose from the motor. That switch throws be installed on all switches.
JANUARY 10, 1949.
CLAY COUNTY, RADERS CREEK Coal Co., MINE No. 2
Oscar Wilburn, white American motorman, age 48, with 25 years' mining experience, was so severely injured when caught between the motor and the roof that he died a few minutes later. He leaves seven dependents.
The accident occurred at No. 12 room neck off one main.
The motor crew had placed up a trip of empties and started to begin pulling two loaded cars. No 12 room was worked out but was used to park the mining machine after it finished cutting. The switch to this room was not equipped with a throw or bridle bar and just outby the room neck a curtain was hung to divert the air up No. 11 room. The motorman, on the inby end of the motor, was prevented seeing the switch points because he ducked his head when coming through the curtain. The motor took the switch and before it could be stopped, crushed the motorman between the locomotive and the roof.
The failure of this company to comply with the recommendations of the district mine inspector following a regular inspection 60 days previous to the accident, was partly the cause of this accident.