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FIRST-AID AND MINE RESCUE
1. All employees should be given a course in first-aid training annually.
2. A selected number of men should be trained in mine-rescue work; at least 12 men for any mine employing more than 100 men should be trained.
MISCELLANEOUS UNDERGROUND HAZARDS
1. Incombustible litter should be removed from the vicinity of explosives boxes and rock-dust barricades.
2. The first west, south entry should be patrolled regularly.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT The inspectors wish to express their appreciation and thanks for the courtesies and cooperation extended by the State department of mines and minerals, the mine management, and the employees during this inspection. Respectfully submitted.
L. W. KELLY,
T. H. O'NEAL,
Coal Mine Inspector. Approved :
E. H. DENNY, Chief, Coal Mine Inspection Division.
D. HARRINGTON, Chief, Health and Safety Branch.
COAL MINE REINSPECTION REPORT NO. 1, NO. 5 MINE, CENTRALIA
COAL CO., CENTRALIA, MARION COUNTY, ILL., SEPTEMBER 20-22, 1943
(By F. J. Shilling and W. A. Gallagher)
INTRODUCTION An inspection of the No. 5 mine was made September 20–22, 1943, in accordance with the Federal Coal Mine Inspection and Investigation Act of 1941, H. R. 2082, for the purpose of obtaining information relating to health and safety conditions in and around this mine, such information to be made available to the public, as required by law. This report points out conditions and practices considered hazardous or unsafe and lists the improvements in safety conditions and practices that have been made since the last inspection of September 1-3, 1942.
It is hoped that this report will assist the management and the mine employees in their efforts to prevent accidents at this mine.
GENERAL INFORMATION The No. 5 mine, situated on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and Illinois Central Railroads at Centralia, Ill., is operated by the Centralia Coal Co. The local office of the company is at Centralia, Ill., and the general offices are in Chicago, Ill.
The names and addresses of the operating officials are: H. F. McDonald, president, Chicago, Ill. ; H. C. Niermann, superintendent, Centralia, Ill. ; H. A. Berger, mine foreman, Centralia, ni.
The mine is opened by two timber-lined shaft which are approximately 545 feet deep and 100 feet apart. One is used for handling men, coal, and supplies, it is a return airway. The second opening is used for intake air and as an escapeway.
The mine is dereloped in the Illinois No. 6 coal bed, which averages 78 inches in thickness in this mine. The roof is a layer of slate 4 inches to 2 feet in thickness, abore which is a hard slate grading into limestone; the maximum cover is 560 feet, and the floor is a bed of hard fire clay. The coal bed is practically flat, except for local undulations. It dips slightly to the southeast. The analysis of samples collected during the original inspection indicate the dust to be capable of self
sustaining an explosion. The total employment in this mine is 151 men; 10 underground employees divided into 2 shifts, and 43 surface employees. The firs sbift starts at 7:30 a. m. and the second shift a 5 p. m.
The average daily production of coal is about 1,650 tons and the maximus about 1,800 tons. Production for the year 1942 was 321,860 tons, and from January 1 to September 1 of this year, the tonnage was 271,432 tons. At th present rate of mining, the productive life of the mine is approximately 20 years There has been a slight decrease in the number of men employed and the daily tonnage since the first inspection.
SURFACE PLANT AND EQUIPMENT
TIPPLE, SHOPS, LAMP HOUSE, BINS, AND BATH HOUSE No important changes have been made in the tipple.
The employees do not use safety belts while handling railroad cars to and from the tipple. Considerable dust is present in the tipple, and the V-belt from the motor to the shaker drive is unguarded. Similar conditions were observed in September 1942.
Electric motors used in the tipple and cleaning plant are of the open type. The switches and controls are not enclosed and the belts, gears, and sprocket wheels on the chain conveyors were not guarded.
There has been no change made in the combination repair and blacksmith shop since the September 1942 inspection. It was observed that the gears and belts on the lathe, power shears, planer, power saw, and power hammer were not guarded.
There is no lamp house at this mine as all employees use carbide lamps in addition to the permissible flame safety lamps used by the mine officials. These lamps are kept, maintained, and serviced in the officials' wash house by the mine manager. The naphtha used for these lamps is kept in a glass jar, which constitutes a fire hazard.
The coal-storage bin is not constructed of fire-resistant material, and fire doors are not provided at the shafts.
The wash house is of brick construction, well lighted, heated, ventilated, and is provided with adequate washing facilities; howerer, it has only one exit, and a disinfectant foot bath is not provided.
HOISTING EQUIPMENT AND SHAFTS
Cages and hoisting practices are as described in the September 1942 inspection report. The shaft timbering becomes dry during the winter months, presenting a serious fire hazard. The hoisting engineers are not given a physical examination annually. The ropes and sheave wheels are inspected daily, but no record is kept of these inspections. The cages used for hoisting and lowering the men h: ve open sides, and are equipped with safety catches that are examined daily but nc tests are being made.
Movable parts of the cages are not locked while men are being hoisted or lowered, and signals cannot be given from the cage to the engineer at the ground landing.
SYSTEM OF CHECKING MEN INTO AND OUT OF THE MINE
The check-in-and-out system does not provide a positive means of identifying the personnel underground.
MINING METHODS, CONDITIONS, AND EQUIPMENT
SYSTEM OF MINING
The room-and-pillar method of mining is followed, pillars are not extracted, and approximately 48 percent of the coal is recovered.
TIMBERING Timbering is generally good; however, no rules or printed forms are posted. Temporary crossbars are not being used ; ties sawed in two are used in place of cap pieces. Testing of the roof is with a pick by both employees and mine officials, and no goggles are being used when barring down or breaking up slate.
EXPLOSIVES AND BLASTING The explosives-storage magazine has not been moved or changed since the last inspection. It is of wood and sheet metal construction, and is being used for both storage and distribution. It is barricaded on the side next to the mine opening; danger signs are provided, but are nailed onto the building; and the door is kept locked with one five-tumbler lock. No screened ventilators are provided. Dry grass and other combustible material surround the magazine.
Some improvements underground have been made since the first inspection. Wooden tamping bars are being used, not more than a 24-hour supply of explosives is taken into the mine at any one time, and explosives are kept in locked boxes at all timeshowever, all shots are fired with fuse and caps. No fire runs are being made after blasting is done, and three and four shots are fired at one time. Examinations are not being made before and after blasting.
VENTILATION AND GASES An Aerodyne 7-foot fan, belt-connected to a 250-volt direct-current motor, and operating blower is located in the mine 100 feet south of the intake airshaft, as was noted during the first inspection. The fan installation is not provided with incombustible housing, nor is it provided with weak walls or explosion doors to protect it in case of an explosion. The mine is ventilated by one continuous air current. The volume of air at the intake was 56,320 cubic feet a minute. The air was measured in all working entries and found to be sufficient, except in 20-21 south off 4 west entry, where it was found to be inadequate due to congested air courses, leaky wooden stoppings, and doors erected singly. The doors are equipped with latches and some are not self-closing. The air is not being properly conducted to the working faces as no stoppings are provided in rooms, nor are line brattices used to conduct the air from the last open crosscut to the face of working places. Several crosscuts were observed to be more than 60 feet apart, and haulage and hoisting are on the return air current. What few seals they hare in the mine are inspected daily by the mine manager, and a record is kept of these inspections; however, there are several sections in the mine that cannot. be inspected or ventilated and are not sealed off. The ventilating current passes these places before it reaches the active sections.
The mine is operated as nongassy, and no gas was detected by means of a permissible flame safety lamp during this inspection; however, from the analyses of the air samples collected on the first inspection, it was noted that 0.38 percent of methane was being liberated at the face of No. 10 room, 27 south, 4 west, and that some methane was found in the atmosphere. This, in conjunction with the fact that approximately 300 oil wells have been drilled in this mine, some of which are liberating methane, warrants rating and operating this mine as gassy.
Preshaft examinations are made with a permissible flame safety lamp, and evidence of these examinations was observed at the faces of all working places ; however, the mine examiners continue to ride into and out of the mine on a locomotive. The laboratory analyses of the air samples collected during this inspection are shown in table 1.
TABLE 1.--Analyses of air samples collected in No. 5 mine, Centralia Coal Co.,
Centralia, Marion County, Ili., Sept. 20-22, 1943
1 Still air.
Carbide lamps are used by all underground employees, smoking underground is still permitted, and nonpermissible electrical equipment is used in the face regions.
Throughout this inspection, accumulations of coal dust were noted along haulage roads and in rooms. Dusty atmospheres were prevalent during cutting and loading operations. No precautions are taken to allay coal dust at its source. Samples of coal dust were collected in the mine and were analyzed at the Bureau of Mines laboratory. The results of these analyses are shown in table 2.
TABLE 2.-Analysis of dust samples collected in No. 5 mine, Centralia Coal Co.,
Centralia, Marion County, Ill., Sept. 20–22, 1943
Rock dust has been used on the main haulage roads and in the room headings; however, no rock dust has been used since the first inspection.
HAULAGE Stopblocks are not provided at the ground landing to prevent cars from running into the shaft, and switches are not provided with switch throws. Frogs, switches, and guardrails are not blocked.
The underground haulage system, equipment, and maintenance are in good condition. The main haulage track is in good condition with respect to alinement and ballasting; however, the roads are very dirty on both sides and in the center of the track. Clearance is inadequate. Shelter holes are not provided, and crosscuts that could be used for shelter holes are filled with gob and road cleanings.
Switches are not provided with parallel switch throws and frogs and guardrails are not blocked. Cars are pushed by locomotive on the main haulage roads, and the trip rider rides the front end of trips, and jumps off and on while the trips are in motion. No trip lights are provided. Locomotives appear to be in good working condition; however, they are not equipped with gongs or necessary tools for rerailing cars or locomotives.
The men ride on the trolley-wire side of all man trips, and employees were noted jumping off the trip before it came to a full stop.
ELECTRICITY The condition of the electrical equipment and electric transmission lines is similar to that which was observed during the first inspection. It is of the nonpermissible type.
The 2,300-volt switchboard in the generating room is not guarded. The switches, controls, and motors in the tipple are of both the open and enclosed types.
The underground motor-generator station is not provided with fireproof doors.
The telephone wires at several places are on the same side of the entry as the power wires. Nips on cutting machines, loading machines, drills, and locomotive cables are not equipped with fuses. The trolley wires are not guarded at several places where men are required to pass under. The trolley wire is not sectionalized or guarded at the man-trip loading and unloading stations. The telephones are not equipped with fuses, nor are the cases grounded.
Safety chains are not provided for locking the cutting chains of mining machines before the machines are moved. The machines are not equipped with fuses. The machines are inspected daily by the repairmen, but no record is kept of these inspections.
Temporary cable splices are made with a splicing ring and friction tape. They are kept in service until the cable is worn out.
No change has been made in the postmounted open-type drills since the firsc inspection. The thread bars are not guarded, and the frames are not grounded.
The wiring at the pump houses is in poor condition, and the belts and gears on the pumps are not properly guarded. Switch boxes are not provided with fuses.
Permanent pump installations are not housed in a room constructed of incombustible material, and the frames of starting motors are not grounded.
FIRE PROTECTION UNDERGROUND No attempt has been made to provide better fire protection inside the mine, other than supplying said barrels at the underground substation.
Oil is transported into the mine in 50-gallon steel drums (original containers) and are stored in open crosscuts and room necks.
About 90 percent of the employees wear hard hats, and about 80 percent wear safety-toe shoes, and no goggles were observed.
The No. 5 mine is connected on the north to two worked-out and abandoned mines; the Centralia Nos. 1 and 2. All the water that these mines are making is being hand ed by it 3-inch pump, and a pun.per is on dutly 24 hours every day. Therefore, due to the fact that there is no water sealed off in this mine, and the present workings are not driving toward any old abandoned or worked-out mines, it is the thought of the inspectors that the recommendation under "Flood hazard" in the first report should be deleted.
From information received from the superintendent of the mine, the following precautions are taken. All active oil and gas wells now penetrating the strata below the coal bed, are protected by a pillar of coal extending at least 50 feet on all sides. Oil and gas wells that have penetrated the old workings are surrounded by a wall of cement and an outer steel casing extending 30 feet below the coal bed and open to the outside; all abandoned wells are properly plugged with concrete and a record of every well drilled or abandoned is filed with the State department of mines and minerals.
The escapeway is provided with railed stairways and maintained in good condition ; however, the escapement shaft is lined with combustible material from top to bottom which presents a fire hazard.
Combustible litter in the vicinity of explosives boxes and rock-dust barricades has been removed. The first west-south entry is examined daily and a record of these inspections is kept in the mine manager's office. Mine examiners now leave their evidence at the face of all places examined. The face bosses are not provided with permissible flame safety lamps.
FIRST AID AND MINE RESCUE
None of the employees have had first-aid or mine-rescue training in the last 6 years.
For the first 8 months of 1943, the records show 17 lost-time accidents, including 2 fatalities, which have resulted in 12,245 days' lost time. The coal produced during this period was 15,967 tons per lost-time accident.
This record indicates the necessity for closer supervision, especially regarding roof control as the two fatal accidents resulted from roof falls.
SAFETY ORGANIZATION No safety inspector is employed, and safety meetings are not being held by mine officials and employees.