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Mr. KELLEY. Let me ask you, how were those mines distributed in the United States ?
Mr. ANKENY. I am unable to answer that. I do not have a breakdown of the figures, but I can supply it to the committee.
Mr. KELLEY. I think it would be interesting to have them.
Mr. ANKENY. The interesting thing about these mines is the fact that the fatality rate in those 13 mines was 0.45 men killed per 1,000,000 man-hours worked, whereas the fatality rate for the United States during that same period was 1.29.
The conclusion is that the maintenance of the reasonable standards as provided by the Federal Mine Safety Code contributed materially to the lower accident rate in the mines.
(Mr. Ankeny subsequently supplied the above-requested information, as follows:)
Pennsylvania (bituminous), 1; Colorado, 2; West Virginia, 2; Alabama, 2; Montana, 1; Illinois, 1; and Utah, 1.
Mr. Maize says:
House bill 3023 and House Joint Resolution 165 are predicated on the theory that all men look at the same conditions through the same eyes. One man may go to a mine and say the mine is unsafe. Another man may go to another mine where the conditions are similar, and he would overlook these conditions without shutting the mine down, or prosecuting the operator, or he may not even request that the men be withdrawnfrom that portion of the mine.
Secretary Maize is correct in that. The establishment of imminent danger in a mine is a matter of judgment. It cannot be circumscribed by law, because imminent danger is a matter of degree. You can have defective ventilation in a mine, but imminent danger may not exist. But that ventilation may become defective to the point where there is no air at all, or where there is not sufficient air to dilute and render harmless and carry away dangerous and noxious gases, and you have an imminent danger. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to circumscribe the matter of imminent danger with specific regulations, because in those regulations it is impossible to define the degree to which the danger has to exist before it becomes imminent.
Secretary Maize's inspectors have this discretion, and they exercise this discretion in their work.
Secretary Maize says:
If House bill 3023 is passed, it will make each individual Federal inspector a lawmaker unto himself.
The answer to that is that it would no more make a Federal inspector a lawmaker unto himself than the present State laws now make State inspectors lawmakers unto themselves. Most State inspectors now have that authority to close mines, and quite frequently they exercise it when it is necessary.
Mr. Maize objects to the passage of this act on the ground that,
If they are given police powers, that will be a bureaucracy writing its own rules and trying to enforce them in the courts of the various coal-producing States of this Nation.
The proposed law as it has been presented does not contemplate the writing of regulations or the prescribing of rules to be followed by the industry.
The policing of the coal mines in Pennsylvania is vested in the State mine inspectors and the Pennsylvania Department of Mines through legislative action, not by directives or rules written by any inspector or the head of the department of mines.
Mr. Maize made a great point of the fact this morning that he did not prescribe regulations for the coal-mining industry in Pennsylvania. There has been a controversy in Pennsylvania for some time regarding multiple blasting. The only practical way that some of the operators in Pennsylvania can comply with a certain section of the Federal Mine Safety Code is to blast their coal in multiple, that is, fire all their shots at one time in a given working place.
There is nothing in the Pennsylvania law that prohibits multiple blasting in coal mines, but the secretary of mines of Pennsylvania does not permit multiple blasting. Therefore, the operators are unable to comply with that section of the code, because of a ruling of the department of mines.
The idea of setting up mining safety regulations, aside from regulations enacted by State legislatures or the Federal Congress, is not new. In the State of Utah, the mining regulations of the State are written and put into effect by the industrial labor commission of Utah. The commission form of State regulation is also used in the State of California.
In the State of West Virginia, the chief of the department of West Virginia is authorized by law to make any regulations that he deems necessary, and after the publication of those regulations, they have the force of law.
A number of incorrect statements made by Mr. Maize have already been answered by Mr. G. W. Grove in previous testimony.
There is one other point that I want to make. Some questions came up in connection with the Centralia disaster, and there was a statement made with regard to the disaster that occurred at the No. 8 mine of the Old Ben Coal Corp. in West Frankford, Ill., in 1947. I have those reports here.
Mr. KELLEY. They should be in the record. Without objection, they will be inserted.
Mr. ANKENY. Do you desire to insert them in the record ?
Mr. ANKENY. And also I have all of the reports that were made by the Federal inspector of the Centralia mine prior to the Centralia disaster.
(The documents referred to are as follows:)
FINAL REPORT OF MINE EXPLOSION, NO. 8 MINE, OLD BEN COAL CORP., WEST FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, ILL., JULY 24, 1947
(By W. A. Gallagher, W. R. Chick, H. C. Brumbaugh, T. C. Higgins)
INTRODUCTION An explosion, evidently caused when gas was ignited by a spark or arc from a gathering locomotive or by smoking, and in which coal dust was involved, occurred in the No. 8 mine, Old Ben Coal Corp., located just south of West Frankfort, Franklin County, Ill., at about 12:35 p. m., July 24, 1947. The explosion resulted in the death of 27 men, of which number 26 were killed by burns, violence, and afterdamp. There were 30 men in the vicinity of the explosion area, and 4 of these men escaped to the surface with the assistance of other workmen. One of the rescued men later died in the hospital. Two hundred and sixty-four men were in the mine at the time of the explosion, of which number 234 escaped to the surface unaided. No attempt to barricade was made, as the explosion covered only a small section and did not affect any other portion of the mine.
The Vincennes office of the Bureau of Mines was notified about 2 p. m. by Mr. H. C. Brumbaugh, Federal coal-mine inspector, who was informed by Mr. Roy Adams, general mine superintendent, that there was a fire in the 13 east section of the mine, and about 25 men in that section were unaccounted for. Other Federal inspectors were notified by Mr. C. A. Herbert, supervising engineer, district E, and they went to the mine as soon as possible. A total of seven representatives of the Bureau of Mines participated in the recovery operations, the investigation, or both.
The No. 8 mine of the Old Ben Coal Corp, is located just south of West Frankfort, Franklin County, Ill., and is served by the Illinois Central, the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy, and the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroads.
Operating officials.-D. W. Buchanan, president, Chicago, Ill.; George F. Campbell, general manager, Chicago, Ill. ; R. L. Adams, general superintendent, West Frankfort, Ill. ; Ernest Green, assistant general superintendent, West Frankfort, Ill. :; J. W. McDonald, chief engineer, Christopher, Ill.; J. E. Jones, safety engineer, West Frankfort, Ill. ; Howard Lewis, superintendent, West Frankfort, Ill. ; Don Bowker, mine manager, West Frankfort, Ill.
The company also operated the Nos. 9, 11, 14, and 15 mines in Franklin County, Ill. The main offices of the company are located at 230 South Clark Street, Chicago, Ill.
EMPLOYEES AND PRODUCTION
A total of 495 men was employed, of which number 382 worked underground on two shifts, and the average daily production was 3,500 tons of coal.
OPENINGS AND NATURE OF COAL BED The No. 8 mine is opened by three shafts, each sunk to a depth of about 464 feet. The coal-hoisting shaft is wooden lined and has two compartments, and is used as one of the upcasts. The other upcast shaft is located 285 feet west of the hoisting shaft and the intake air shaft is located 6,312 feet south of the hoisting shaft. These shafts were wooden lined and were equipped with wooden stairways to be used as escapeways, and they were in good condition.
The mine is operated in the Illinois No. 6 coal bed, which averages 90 inches in thickness in this area and lies flat except for local undulations. The cover over the coal bed ranges from 464 to 500 feet at this property.
The immediate roof is variable but usually consists of from 18 to 20 inches of roof coal and 24 to 30 inches of gray shale.
The outstanding characteristics of the coal bed are numerous sulfur and shale bands, of which the most persistent is the "blue band." Frequent slips, rolls, and faults occur throughout the coal bed.
The floor underlying the coal bed is smooth, medium hard fire clay, which varies in thickness from 12 to 48 inches.
Samples of coal taken in nearby mines operated in the No. 6 coal bed and analyzed by the United States Bureau of Mines showed approximately the following:
7.5 Volatile matter
32. 7 Fixed carbon.
The ratio of volatile matter to total combustible matter, as given above:
Volatile matter plus fixed carbon is 0.39 for the No. 6 coal bed in this field.
MINING METHODS, CONDITIONS, AND EQUIPMENT
The No. 8 mine was worked by the room-and-pillar method, the system being so arranged that each pair of room entries formed a panel. The mine was not laid out with reference to butt and face cleavage planes, as neither is defined distinctly in this district.
The main entries were driven four abreast. The cross entries were generally driven four abreast, but in some instances only three were driven. Room entries were driven in pairs. All entries were driven 12 feet wide on 37-foot centers, except along the main haulageway for a distance of 8,000 feet from the shaft bottom. Here the entry was 18 feet wide to accommodate a double-track system.
Rooms were driven 28 feet wide on 45-foot centers. Crosscuts were turned at 60-foot intervals and were generally driven at regular entry and room widths. Cross entries were turned at right angles to main entries at 1,475-foot intervals. Room entries were turned at right angles to the cross entries and the rooms were turned parallel to the cross entries. A 90-foot barrier pillar was left between the cross-entries and the first room turned off the room entries.
Panel entries were driven at 504-foot intervals and the rooms were driven to a depth of 242 feet each way from the entries, leaving a 20-foot barrier pillar between panels. About 65 percent of the coal was recovered by this method, all in advance work, except the barrier pillars along the cross entries which were mined after the panel entries had been worked out. Some additional coal was recovered by slabbing or splitting the room pillars. This was not done in a systematic manner, but according to the conditions encountered in the rooms being mined.
The coal was undercut to a depth of 812 feet with nonpermissible arc-wall mining machines, and was drilled with nonpermissible postmounted electric drills. Generally, the coal was loaded into mine cars with nonpermissible track-mounted loading machines; however, a few hand loaders were used at the inby ends of the barrier pillars being recovered.
A systematic method of timbering the working places was being followed, but safety posts were not set between the permanent timbers and the working faces.
VENTILATION AND GASES
Ventilation was provided by an 8- by 41-foot centrifugal fan, operated blowing and located about 24 feet from the edge of the downcast shaft. The fan was driven by a 150-horsepower 2,300-volt alternating-current motor. Auxiliary power was not available in the event of failure of the motor or the alternating current. The fan house and the air duct were constructed of incombustible material, and the fan was protected against excessive pressures by explosion doors. During the Federal inspection of January 7–10, 1947, the fan was delivering 117,840 cubic feet of air a minute into the mine at a water-gage pressure of 51 inches. The direction of the air flow was readily reversible. A pressure-recording gage, air-lock doors to the fan, and an audible warning device in the hoisting room were provided. The fan was run continuously and was attended while the mine was in operation.
The air was conducted from the shaft into the mine through parallel entries, and was divided into four splits. It was returned along the main haulageways to the return air shaft.
Crosscuts were made at 60-foot intervals and not more than one open crosscut was permitted between the faces of entries and the first outby temporary or permanent stopping.
Concrete-block stoppings had been erected in the crosscuts along the main and cross-entry haulageways between the intake and the return airways. Wooden stoppings were used in the panel entries. The overcasts were constructed of incombustible material and were provided with ample space for the free passage of air.
Single doors were erected between the intake and return airways and when open permitted a direct short circuit of the air.
The mine was considered to be gassy by the Illinois department of mines and minerals, and was classified as gassy by the bureau of mines because sampling by the Federal inspectors indicated that methane in excess of 0.25 percent had been found in open workings during all previous inspections. Gas had also been ignited on two occasions previously which resulted in 8 men being killed, 9 seriously burned, and 11 slightly burned. Six certified mine examiners were employed to make preshift examinations of the mine for gas and to observe and inspect for other hazards. A certified face boss was employed to supervise each loading-machine crew, and his duties included making on-shift inspections for explosive gas and other hazards.
Many oil and gas wells penetrated the coal bed, but none was in open workings in the mine.
During the time of the last Federal inspection of January 7-10, 1947, there were 14 air samples collected and the analytical results showed methane ranging from 0.19 to 1.13 percent as follows: Return last crosscut 3 and 4 S. 17 east
0.78 Return last crosscut 19 and 20 W. M. S..
1. 07 Return 19 W. 150' inby M. S. on 17 west
1. OB Return last crosscut 17 and 18 east M. E. Return last croscut 7 and 8 N. 17 west.
1. 06 Return 15 east 250' inby M, S. on 15 east.
. 35 Return last crosscut 15 and 16 E. M. S.
19 Return 15 W. 150' inby M. S. on 15 west
23 Return 17 W. 100' inby M. S. on 17 west
1. 13 Last crosscut 9 and 10 N. 15 east
.37 Return M. S. 800' inby shaft bottom.
. 36 Return last crosscut 17 and 18 W. M. S.
.94 M. S. return at 11 east
.34 Return 13 E, at overcast
The mine workings and haulage roads were dry, except for accumulations of water in several small sumps and at the shaft bottom. Four pumps, all of the piston type, were in use in the mine. Three of the pumps were of the gathering type, and the fourth was located in a concrete room near the shaft bottom and was used to pump water from the hoisting shaft sump to the surface.
The mine was exceedingly dry and an excessive amount of coal dust was raised into suspension during mining operations at the working faces, and some fine coal dust had been carried into the abandoned area and deposited on the ribs, roof, and floor by the ventilating current. Watering methods had not been employed to allay the dust at its source, but generalized rock dusting was practiced and the rock dust was kept to within 80 feet or less of the working faces. Bags of rock dust were suspended from timbers in the airways outby the active working area; however, these barriers played little or no part in preventing the propagation of the explosion as only a few of the bags of rock dust had been tripped. The rock dust from the bags that had been tripped was found on the floor immediately below the installation and no evidence of dispersal of the rock dust was observed.
The analytical results of dust samples collected in the mine during the January 1947 Federal inspection are shown in the following table :
Sample of dust
Location in mine
150' inby M.S. on 19 W.
45.3 14,6 42.7 11.6 30. 2 22. 5 71.4 28.2 20.6
5.2 47. 2 30.7
54.7 85.4 57.3 88, 4 69.8 77.5 28.6 71.8 79.4 94.8 52.8 69.3
1 Samples collected in the section affected by the explosion.