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There is no systematic method of timbering in effect at this mine. Timbering is done as considered necessary by the officials and workmen. In some instances timbers are not set close enough to the working faces to provide adequate protection.
It is recommended that a systematic timbering method be adopted and prints of the plan be posted at the mine. Timbers should be set as close as practicable to the working faces, and safety posts should be used in all face areas.
HAULAGE-ROADWAYS, ETC. The main haulage track is in good condition with respect to alinement and ballasting. However, clearance is inadequate. Road cleanings are shoveled onto the traveling side. Shelter holes are not provided ; crosscuts are filled with gob and road cleanings.
Shelter holes should be provided at 60-foot intervals, and in future work a clearance of at least 30 inches should be maintained from the nearest obstruction to the farthest projection of any moving equipment.
Crosscuts, if properly cleaned out, are acceptable as shelter holes.
Carbide lamps are used by all underground employees.
All underground employees should use permissible electric cap lamps in place of the carbide lights now being used.
About 90 percent of the employees wear hard hats, and 80 percent wear safetytoe shoes. No goggles were observed.
All employees in and about the mine should wear protective clothing as an essential means of preventing injuries.
There is considerable dust in suspension during dumping operations in the tipple, and accumulations of dust were observed on the floors. No means of allaying dust is provided.
Water should be used for allaying the dust, or, if this is impracticable, the floors, timbers, and projecting ledges should be rock-dusted.
Surface hazards include the following: Unguarded belts, gears, sprocket wheels, and pinions.
All pinions, belts, gears, and sprocket wheels should be properly guarded.
CAGES AND OTHER HOISTING EQUIPMENT Gates are not provided across the open ends of the cage platform while men are being hoisted or lowered.
Gates should be provided at the ends of the cage platforms.
Smoking is permitted in the mine.
Consideration should be given to the holding of monthly safety meetings by an organization composed of workmen and officials.
The officials and the employees extended full cooperation and assistance in this inspection.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
(NOTE.—This release is issued by direction of the Federal Coal Mine Inspection Act of
May 7, 1941 (Public Law 49, 77th Cong. )
BUREAU OF MINES
[For release Friday, July 21, 1944)
FOUR ILLINOIS COAL MINES REINSPECTED BY BUREAU OF MINES Improvements at four Illinois coal mines, three of them open-pit operations, are described in Federal coal-mine reinspection reports made public today by Dr. R. R. Sayers, Director of the Bureau of Mines. The mines are in Perry, Fulton, Marion, and La Salle Counties.
Dr. Sayers informed Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes that reports detailing results of the recent reinspections also specified certain betterments.
Improvements since the previous 'Federal inspections were due to company initiative, the cooperation of workers, and the adoption of recommendations made by State and Federal inspectors, he stated.
Summaries of the Government's reinspection reports follow:
Fidelity (open-pit) mine, United Electric Coal Cos., Duquoin, Perry County : 271 employees; average daily production, 6,276 tons. Reinspected by Frank Kolisek and W. R. Chick, Federal inspectors, who commended the mine for its better-than-average safety record. Improvements since the previous inspection in August 1943 included safer storage of explosives and handling of misfired shots, and removal of coal spillage and dust around the coal crusher in the preparation plant. Re ommendation called for a tire-fighting organization, adlditional safety measures in storing explosives and blasting coal, more mechanical and electrical safeguards, wearing of special protective hats and safety-toe shoes by all employees, first-aid training for all, and a safety organization.
Buckheart No. 17 (open-pit) mine, United Electric Coal Cos., Canton, Fulton County; 111 employees; average daily production, 4,100 tons, reinspected by F. C. Saurs and W. G. Fields, Federal inspectors. Improvements since the original inspection in April 1943: Safer storage of explosives, additional protection against fire, electrical shock, and mechanical hazards, good housekeeping in surface buildings, safety rules adopted, abandoned pit barricaded, other betterments to safeguard employees, and an improved accident record. The inspectors recommended better control of the coal-dust hazard in cleaning plant, further protection against fire and electrical hazards, wearing of special protective hats and safety-toe shoes by all employees, wider use of protective equipment, safer storage and transportation of explosives, and first-aid training for all employees.
No. 5 mine, Centralia Coal Co., Centralia, Marion County; 226 employees; average daily production, 1,900 tons. Reinspected by Federal Inspectors F. J. Gallagher and C. F. Kahre, who emphasized the need for systematic timbering and close supervision of roof control in this underground mine. Other recommenations : Better control of coal-dust hazards above and below ground, improved ventilating practices, more shelter holes and other haulage betterments, better protection against fire, electrical shock and ignition hazards, additional mechanical safeguards, and effective checking-in-and-out system, a ban on smoking, use of permissible electric cap lamps by all employees, and wider use of special protective equipment by employees. Improvements included records of daily inspections of hoisting equipment, stopblocks at the surface landing, safer storage of explosives, better ventilating practices, and reduced electrical hazards.
Osage (open-pit) mine, Osage Coal Co., Ottawa, La Salle County; 42 employees; average daily production, 550 tons. Reinspected by Federal Inspectors F. C. Saurs and W. G. Fields, who noted the following improvements since a previous Government inspection in June 1943 : Additional mechanical and elec. trical safeguards, increased fire protection, and better storage of explosives and safer blasting practices. Recommendations called for more adequate fire protection at tipples, wearing of safety-toe shoes and special protective hats by all employees and safety belts by men handling railroad cars, more mechanical and electrical safeguards, allaying dust on haulage roads, and an organized safety program.
Copies of the reports are available for instpection at the Bureau of Mines, Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C., and at the Bureau of Mines district office at Vincennes, Ind.
COAL-MINE REINSPECTION REPORT NO. 3, NO. 5 MINE, CENTRALIA
COAL CO., CENTRALIA, MARION COUNTY, ILL., JANUARY 8-11, 1945.
(By Frank Perz, coal-mine inspector)
INTRODUCTION This report is based on an inspection made January 8–11, 1945, to obtain information relating to health and safety conditions at this mine in accordance with the provision of the Federal Coal-Mine Inspection and Investigation Act of 1941 H. Ř. 2082). Improvements made since the previous inspection, June 5-6, 1944, are recorded, and additional hazards observed are discussed. Recommendations included in the previous report, which are not applicable under present conditions, have been omitted. Recommendations that should be given first consideration are indicated by asterisks (*).
One or more of the recommendations in this report may differ from some provision of the mining law or safety orders of the State. The intent is not to advocate noncompliance with the State law but to suggest that it may be advisable for the coal industry to examine such variations to determine if modification of the law or order may be beneficial.
GENERAL INFORMATION The mine is opened by two timber-lined shafts 545 feet deep, driven to intersect the Illinois No. 6 coal bed, which averages 78 inches of thickness in this mine. A total of 235 men is employed, of which number 100 work underground on the day shift and 79 on the night shift, compared with a total of 226 employees at the time of the June 1944 inspection. The average daily production is 1,893 tons of coal, which is a slight decrease since the previous inspection. The mine has an estimated life of about 19 years at the present rate of production. It is operated as nongassy, but it is classed as "gassy" by the Bureau of Mines.
SURFACE COAL HANDLING AND HOISTING Since the previous inspections, sprays have been installed at the dumping point in the tipple, and the coal dust is allayed with a suitable wetting agent. The superintendent stated that some alterations are to be made in the tipple, and when the work is completed additional sprays will be installed where large quantities of dust are released. Although the coal dust is said to be cleaned from the tipple daily, large accumulations were noted throughout. Open-type electric motors and power control switches are still being used in the tipple.
The method used in disposing of refuse is similar to that reported in the original inspection report, and no hazards were observed.
The wooden coal-storage bin near the shaft opening has not been made fireresistant; however, the superintendent stated that it is of no further use and will be removed as soon as the alterations are made in the tipple.
The hoisting equipment and practices are similar to those described in the original inspection report. Hoisting engineers are not required to undergo physical examinations annually.
The sides of the cages are not enclosed fully, and safety gates are not provided across the open ends of the cage platforms when men are being hoisted and lowered. The cage safety catches are examined daily, and tested once a month by releasing the tension on the rope while the cage is resting on timbers laid across the shaft opening; no records are kept of these tests. The wooden lining in the shafts was well saturated with water and adequate fire-fighting facilities are provided in the event of a fire. Signals cannot be given from the cages.
*1. The coal dust in the tipple should be cleaned more frequently to prevent it from accumulating, and where it is impracticable to remove coal dust from remote places, such places should be rock-dusted.
2. The electric motors used in the tipple should be of the dustproof type. It is recognized that such motors may be difficult to obtain because of war conditions. Therefore, for the present, measures should be taken to minimize the
possibility of dust accumulations or dust clouds about the motors. Any replacements of, or additions to, the present motors should be of the dustproof type.
3. All power control switches and starting boxes should be enclosed.
4. The wooden coal-storage bin near the mine opening should be removed as soon as practicable to eliminate the possible fire hazard.
5. Hoisting engineers should be required to undergo physical examinations at least annually to determine their continued fitness to operate a hosit, and the physician's report of such examinations should be posted.
*6. The sides of the cages should be enclosed fully, and safety gates should be provided across the open ends of the cage platforms when men are hoisted and lowered.
*7. The cage safety catches should be tested at least every 2 months by a drop test, and written records of the tests should be maintained.
8. A signal device should be arranged at the surface and bottom shaft landings so that signals can be given from the cages.
SURFACE BUILDINGS The conditions in the wash house and other surface buildings were essentially unchanged. The wash ho has not been provided with an additional exit, or with facilities to prevent the spread of foot infection, and the steam radiators are not guarded.
All of the flame safety lamps in use at the mine for gas-testing purposes are of the permissible type.
No hazards were observed in the shop and other surface buildings, and no changes have been made.
1. The wash house should be provided with at least two exits.
2. The wash house should be provided with adequate facilities to prevent the spread of foot infection. If foot baths are used, the disinfectant should be changed daily.
*3. The steam heating pipes in the wash house should be guarded against contact hazard.
GENERAL SURFACE CONDITIONS
Materials and timbers were stored neatly several hundred feet from the mine openings, and roads and paths in the surface yard were free from obstructions.
Adequate fire protection is provided, and the fire-fighting equipment is inspected and tested once each month, but records are not made of these tests and inspections.
The surface buildings and the surrounding areas were neat and orderly, except for the accumulations of dust in the tipple. Illumination and heating were adequate in all surface structures, but adequate illumination is not provided at the surface shaft landing, for the men getting on and off the cages.
The permanent ladder leading from the tipple to the sheave platform is not provided with back guards.
1. A record should be made of the inspections of fire-fighting equipment.
2. Adequate illumination should be provided at the ground landing to the shaft, for the men getting on and off the cages.
3. The permanent ladder leading to the sheave platform should be provided with back guards.
METHOD OF MINING AND TIMBERING The room-and-pillar method of mining is followed, pillars are not extracted, and about 50 percent of the coal is recovered.
A standard plan of timbering has not been adopted, and the system in use does not provide adequate protection for the men at the working faces or along the roadways and haulageways. The roof throughout the mine is of a tender character and requires close timbering; however, throughout this inspection only a few safety posts, and no temporary cross bars, were set near the working faces. Failure to provide adequate roof protection resulted in 1 fatality, 11 nonfatal lost-time injuries, and 15 no-lost-time injuries from falls of roof during the year 1944.
Most of the men at the working faces were observed testing the roof during this inspection, using the vibration method. However, it is obvious that some of the men failed to observe these safety practices because of the large number of roof-fall injuries. Officials now carry special roof-testing rods.
Considerable loose, unsupported shale and overhanging ribs were noted along the intermediate haulageways, and at the faces of a number of working places. Undercut coal is not spragged or blocked.
*1. A standard plan of timbering should be adopted, which should include the use of safety posts or temporary cross bars near the working faces, and prints of the adopted plan should be issued to the officials and timbermen and posted. on the bulletin board at the mine.
*2. The safety rule requiring the workmen to test the roof and ribs before beginning work and at frequent intervals should be enforced strictly.
*3. Loose shale, coal, and overhanging ribs, in places where men are required to work or travel, should be removed or supported immediately following detection.
*4. Undercut coal should be spragged effectively by placing blocks in the kerf not over 4 feet apart, or by blocking with leaning props.
STORAGE, TRANSPORTATION, AND USE OF EXPLOSIVES
The explosives-storage and detonator-storage magazines have not been altered. Recommendations covering hazards in connection with the surface storage of explosives on this property have been made in a separate report, and were also discussed with the mine management. To avoid duplication they are not repeated in this report.
The methods of transporting and storing explosives in the mine are in compliance with Bureau of Mines standards.
In general, the method of blasting is the same as described in the previous inspection reports. Permissible explosives, fired by means of fuse and No. 6 detonator caps and stemmed with prepared clay dummies, are used to blast the coal.
It appeared to be a general practice throughout the mine, for the shot firers to store the explosives at the working faces while the electric drills were in operation. Shots are fired in rapid succession at the end of the shift, and no examinations for gas are made in the blasting area before and after shots are fired, nor are the places examined for fire after blasting.
An accurate daily record is kept of the amount of explosives and detonators issued, used, and returned to the storage boxes, and also of the number of misfired and blown-out shots. The handling of misfired shots are under direct supervision of the section foremen and they are reported to be handled in a safe manner.
*1. Permissible explosives should be fired only with electric detonators of proper strength and by means of permissible shot-firing units.
*2. Electric power should be cut off the equipment at or near the face before explosives are taken to such face.
3. Shots should not be fired in rapid succession. *4. Examinations for gas should be made in the blasting area before and after firing a shot, and the places should be examined for fire after blasting.
VENTILATION AND MINE GASES The mine is ventilated by means of the reversible-type fan described in the original inspection report. The fan was operated blowing and was delivering 58,590 cubic feet of air a minute, at a water-gage pressure of 1.2 inches at the time of this inspection, which compares favorably with the amount of air entering the mine at the time of the previous inspection. The fan is still installed under.. ground in the center of the entry 100 feet south of the air shaft, and the sides of the fan are enclosed with concrete walls.
The quantity of air was adequate, and 6,480 cubic feet of air a minute or more was measured in the last open crosscut in each pair of working entries. This is a commendable improvement in providing better ventilation to the working sections since the previous inspection, and it was accomplished by cleaning 2,000 cars of refuse from the main intake air course, sealing the abandoned 1 west section with substantial concrete bulkheads, by plastering a number of the wooden stoppings with cement, and by building fire-resistant stoppings in several panel entries.