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obtaining information relating to health and safety conditions in coal mines, such information to be made available to the public as required by law.

The intention of this report is to indicate both safe and unsafe conditions and practices prevailing at the mine so that the industry, the public, and all concerned may be informed as to what is being done at this mine to bring about more healthful and safer conditions and practices. It is hoped that this report will help the management and the mine employees in their efforts to improve the safety of this mine.



The No. 5 mine is owned and operated by the Centralia Coal Co., with offices located at Centralia, Marion County, Ill., and Chicago, Ill.

The mine is located in Marion County, about 2 miles west of Centralia, Ill., on branch lines of the Illinois Central Railroad and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.

Names and addresses of operating officials.-The operating officials are as follows: H. F. McDonald, president, Chicago, Ill.; R. J. Oldham, general superintendent, Centralia, Ill. ; D. R. Schooler, chief engineer and superintendent, Centralia, Ill; H. A. Berger, mine foreman, Centralia, Ill.

The company does not operate any other mines, but is affiliated with the Bell & Zoller Coal Mining Co.


The No. 5 mine was opened in 1908, and has a probable life of 21 years. There have been no mine fires, but one dust explosion occurred in 1922 which resulted in the death of three men. Four explosions have occurred in neighboring mines, resulting in the loss of 22 lives. These explosions are listed below:

Men Sandoval mine--

8 Coulterville mine-

10 Beckemeyer mine (2 explosions).



The mine is opened by two shafts 545 feet deep and 1,100 feet apart. One shaft is used for hoisting and as a return airway. The second opening is used for intake air and as an escapeway.


The No. 5 mine is opened in the Illinois No. 6 coal bed, which has an average thickness of 78 inches at this location. The coal bed is practically flat except for local undulations. It dips slightly to the southeast.

The coal is of bituminous rank, bright in appearance, and has the usual characteristics of the No. 6 coal bed in that it contains sheets and flakes of calcite, bands of sulfur, and the distinctive “blue band.”

The coal analysis used in this report was obtained from the company, and is a composite of four face samples taken from the No. 5 mine.

Percent Moisture

10.30 Ash

11. 93 Volatile matter.

35. 55 Fixed carbon..

42. 22

B. t. u., 11,144.


4. 00


The No. 5 mine is operated on a one-shift basis, 5 days a week. There are 175 men employed underground and 44 on the surface.

The mine produces 1,800 tons of coal per day, with a maximum of 1,850 tons. Production for the year 1941 was 203,223 tons.



The tipple is of steel construction and is provided with adequate fire protection. The coal enters the tipple and cleaning plant from a weighing pan located on the top deck of the tipple; from there it is conveyed to a series of shaker screens where it is sized to meet the market needs. From this point the coal passes over picking tables into railroad cars on four loading tracks.

The wiring about the tipple was observed to be well installed in conduit. Switches, controls, and motors are both of the enclosed and open types, and are well installed except that belts, gears, and sprockets are not provided with guards.

Excessive dust accumulations were observed throughout the tipple, and considerable dust was observed in suspension during the operation of the tipple. Water or wetting agents are not used to control the dust.

In the interest of safety and the health of the workmen in the tipple, all belts, gears, sprockets, drive chains, and flywheels within 7 feet of the floor or platform should be adequately guarded, and all motors should be of the dustproof type.

In tipples having dust hazards an air-exhaust system should be used with dustcollecting hoods located at the principal sources of dust, or the dust should be allayed with water or a solution of water and a wetting agent. In addition, rock dust should be applied to all projections, lodges, and beams until it reaches the angle of repose, thus preventing accumulations of coal dust in places that are not ordinarily reached in the regular cleaning.

When burning or welding is being done in the tipple, the dust should be thoroughly cleaned, and that part of the tipple where the burning or welding is being done should be wetted down.

The tipple should be kept free of dust accumulations by frequent cleaning, and preferably by the use of water. Steam heat and electric lights are provided. The coal is not oil-treated.


A small coal-storage bin of wooden construction, which has a capacity of about 40 tons, is built into the tipple and is used for retail coal sales to truckers. This coal-storage bin is located approximately 15 feet from the hoisting shaft. While there is no apparent hazard from spontaneous combustion, as the coal is constantly being removed from the bin, nevertheless there should be no buildings constructed of combustible material closer than 100 feet of any mine opening.


The head frame is of steel construction, and is provided with railed stairways throughout the tipple to the head sheave platform which is provided with railings. It was reported that the head sheaves are oiled and inspected each day, but no record is kept of the inspection. These records should be kept.


The only surface haulage is that from the shaft to the shops and supply yards. This track is laid to a 42-inch gage, with 40-pound rail on sawed ties spaced 24 inches apart. It is well alined and surfaced; however, it was observed that all of the switches were not provided with switch throws and guardrails. In order to receive the maximum safety and efficiency from the surface haulage, all switches should be fully equipped with switch throws and guardrails. The surface haulage is accomplished by mules.

Railroad cars are dropped to and from the tipple by car droppers, who are provided with suitable brake sticks; however, the car droppers do not use safety belts to protect themselves from accidentally falling from, or in front of, a moving car. A 14-ton gasoline locomotive is maintained for shifting railroad cars back and forth from the tipple when necessary.

HOISTING EQUIPMENT All hoisting is accomplished by a flat 4-by-8-foot drum, driven by two 24-by-42. inch steam engines. It is equipped with Mitchell overwind and speed-control devices, and with an indicator to show the position of the cages at all times which is installed in full view of the engineer. Two 11/4-inch ropes are used, and are fastened to the drum by being passed five times around the drum shaft, with the end secured by rope clamps. The flange is of sufficient height so that there is a minimum of 4 inches exposed when the rope is on the drum.

The enginehouse is of brick construction, and has a wooden ceiling and roof. Fire protection is provided by two 242-gallon soda-acid and four 1-quart volatileliquid fire extinguishers. In addition, there is a high-pressure water line nearby.

The hoist is so placed that no outside noise can distract the attention of the engineer. Periodic physical examinations are not given the engineers. Hoisting engineers whose duty it is to hoist and lower men should be required to undergo a physical examination at least annually to determine their physical fitness, and the physician's report of such examination should be posted.

The Illinois code of hoisting signals is posted at the shaft bottom, surface landing, and enginehouse. The hoisting equipment, including cages, ropes, guides, and hoist, are inspected daily, and a record of these inspections is kept.


Two bonneted, self-dumping cages, operated in balance are used for all hoisting. They are attached to the ropes by means of thimbles and rope clips, and as an additional safety measure bridle chains are used. Manholds are provided in the form of overhead chains. The sides of the cages are not enclosed, guards in the form of bars, chains, or gates are not placed at the ends, and there are no linings on the guide sides. Cages used for hoisting men should be provided with linings or toe-boards on the guide sides, should have the sides enclosed, and should be provided with a protective device on the ends to avoid the possibility of men coming in contact with the shaft walls.

Safety catches of the penetration type are provided, and these are inspected daily, but there is no record of tests having been made. A free falling drop test should be given the cages every 60 days, and records of such tests, showing the distance of the fall, should be kept. Should the cage drop more than 4 inches, the cause should be determined and immediately rectified. The cages, guides, and shaft lining are inspected daily by a mechanic, and a record of this inspection is kept in a book provided for this purpose.

No stop-block is provided at the surface landing to prevent cars from running into the shaft. A positive stop-lock or derail should be placed at the surface. Swinging steel gates as provided at the ground landing, and cagers are present at the surface and bottom landings when men are being hoisted and lowered. The maximum number of men allowed on the cage at any one time is 14. Signalling is by means of an air whistle or an electric bell, but signals cannot be given from the cage. Signal devices should be located so that they may be reached from the cage. Movable parts are not locked when men are being hoisted. Failure to lock the dogs in the open position may result in foot or leg injuries to employees. The platforms of self-dumping cages should be held in place by bolts, bars, or chains while men are being hoisted. Even though it is necessary to hoist men on but one side, no cage having an unstable or self-dumping platform should be used for the handling of men, unless the same is provided with some device by which the platform can be securely locked, and unless it is so locked when men are being conveyed thereon.

No tools are carried on the cages with men, and the traveling speed of the cages when men are being hoisted or lowered is approximately 580 feet per minute.


The steam plant consists of one 600-horsepower, water-tube stoker-fed boiler. It is located approximately 120 feet from the main shaft, and is housed in a brick building which has steel and corrugated iron roof. Safety devices consist of three blow-off valves, set to release at a pressure of 128 pounds per square inch, soft plugs, and the conventional water and steam gages. Fire protection consists of two 242-gallon soda-acid fire extinguishers within the building, and a high-pressure water line without. The building has two exits, and the boiler is inspected every 6 months by an insurance company inspector. The certificate of inspection is posted in the boilerhouse.


All electric power used is generated at the mine. The electric power plant is housed in the same building as the steam hoist, and consists of one 625-kilovolt-ampere, 2,300-volt alternating current turbo-generator, one 300-kilowatt, 2,300 275-volt motor-generator set, and three steam-driven generators having the following 275-volt direct current capacities : 300 kilowatts, 200 kilowatts, and 50 kilowatts. All power used in and about the mine is 250 and 275 volts direct cur. rent. All electrical machinery and equipment were properly installed, grounded, and guarded, with the exception of the 2,300-volt switchboard which should be provided with a guard. Rubber mats were properly placed before the switchboards, which had ample space behind them. Control was readily accessible for an emergency shut-down. No fire hazards were observed. Oil was stored in gallon tin cans, and the building was clean.

Arrangements have been made with the local power company to obtain alternating current, should the mine's source of power fail. Should an emergency arise, this alternating current would be used to operate the fan and the stoker motors of the steam plant.

SHOPS The shop building is of wooden and sheet-metal construction, and contains the blacksmith's shop, machine shop, and car repair shop. It is provided with adequate fire protection.

The shop is lighted by electricity, and the open wiring is well supported on insulators. It was observed that the belts and gears were not properly guarded on the lathe, power hammer, shears, planer, and cut-off saw. To afford full protection to the shop employees, these machines and belts should be properly guarded. Safety goggles are provided, and the shopmen are required to use them while doing work hazardous to the eyes. Hand tools are kept in good condition. The building is kept clean, and is heated by a coal stove.


An Aerodyne 7-foot fan, belt-connected to a 250-volt direct current motor, and operated blowing, is located in the mine 100 feet south of the intake air shaft.

The fan installation is not provided with an incombustible housing, nor is it provided with weak walls or explosion doors to protect it in case of an explosion.

Auxiliary power is available, and a 220-volt alternating current motor is in readiness, should the 250-volt direct current motor fail. It is said that the change can be made within 10 minutes time.

The fan is so installed that the air current can be reversed quickly. The recording pressure gage is installed at the fan, and was in good operating condition at the time of the inspection. The fan is equipped with automatic signal devices which will turn on lights and blow a horn in the surface engine house in case the fan slows down or stops.

The fan is run continuously, is inspected daily by the mine foreman, and a record of the inspection is kept in a book provided for that purpose on the surface. In the interest of safety in coal mining, main fans should be located on the surface in fireproof housing offset from the line of any mine opening by at least 25 feet. The housing should be provided with ample pressure-relief doors or other devices easily opened by the force of an explosion.

When the main fan is located in the mine, a fire or explosion may make access difficult or dangerous and render the installation inoperative, thus greatly handicapping subsequent rescue operations.


The explosives-storage magazine is of wooden and sheet-metal construction, and has a capacity of 22,500 pounds of explosives. The maximum amount stored at any one time is 22,000 pounds, and at the time of the inspection the building contanied 6,600 pounds of Black Diamond permissible explosives.

The magazine is located 500 feet from the nearest mine opening, 300 feet from the wash house, 2,500 feet from the public highway, and 400 feet from the shop. It is barricaded on the side nearest the mine plant, is provided with danger signs, but is not provided with screened ventilators. The area around the building is not kept free of dry grass and brush. Screened ventilators should be provided, and dry grass and brush should be kept cleaned at least 50 feet back from the building. The magazine is provided with a substantial door that is kept locked. It is kept clean, and no other supplies are stored in the building. Heat and lights are not provided. Deliveries of explosives are made about once every 3 months.

A detonator magazine of similar construction is provided with a locked door, and is located 125 feet from the explosives-storage magazine. It contains 1,100 No. 6 blasting caps securely locked inside a strong steel box.


The wash house is of brick construction, and has an ample capacity. It is kept clean, and is well lighted. It is provided with steam heat, adequate washing facilities, and pull-chain clothes hangers. However, it was observed that there is only one exit to the building, and a disinfectant foot bath is not provided.

A small corner is partitioned off inside the wash house, and is being used as a retail sales room for miscellaneous supplies to miners, such as hard hats, cigarettes, and carbide.

The wash house should be provided with a disinfectant foot bath in which the disinfectant is changed daily, and should be provided with at least two exits.


The supply house is of brick construction. It is well lighted, is heated by steam, and is kept clean. Supplies are stored in an orderly manner, and adequate fire protection is provided.


There is no lamp house at the mine, as the miners use carbide lights.

Three Koehler (magnetically locked) permissible flame safety lamps, and a 1-quart glass jar of naphtha are kept in the foreman's wash house. Glass containers when used to hold inflammable liquids constitute a fire hazard. The safety lamps are maintained and serviced by the mine manager.

YARDS AND MATERIAL STORAGE Timbers, ties, rails, and other materials are properly stored in piles a safe distance from the mine. Scrap iron is neatly stored and the paths and walkways are kept clean and free from stumbling hazards.


Surface fire protection consists of water lines and fire hydrants which are interchangeable with those of the municipal fire departments.

Fire extinguishers are provided for each building and are inspected and tested once every 6 months. It is believed that adequate fire protection is provided for the surface buildings.

SURFACE OIL STORAGE Oil is stored in the yard in the open, except that four barrels of oil are kept in an oil house for daily use. These barrels are provided with faucets and drip pans. The building is of sheet-metal construction and is kept clean and well lighted.

The company does not own any dwellings.


The men are given brass checks from a check board in the wash house. They give the checks to the top cager when they enter the cage. The checks are then placed on a check board located on the shaft bottom and remain there until the men return from work. On returning to the shaft bottom at the end of the shaft, each man reclaims his own check and gives it to the top cager as he leaves the mine. These brass checks are numbered to correspond to the man's pay-roll numbers and a daily record of their issuance is kept in a book provided for that purpose. Every employee should be supplied with a numbered check, which should be on his person at all times while he is underground.



The mine is operated on the room-and-pillar panel system common to the Mlinois field, and no pillars are extracted. It is not laid out with reference to butts and fačes, and cleavage planes are not well defined in this field. All coal is mined on the advance with a recovery of approximately 47 percent.

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