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*3. Special attention should be given to the prevention of accidents caused from falls of roof, haulage, and men being burned from electrical sources.
4. The employees should be included in the monthly safety meetings now held by the officials.
5. All employees should be given first-aid training as soon as possible after being employed, and additional first-aid training should be given to all employees annually.
6. The men at the mine who have been trained in mine rescue work should be given additional training monthly.
SUMMARY OF SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS The following safety improvements have been carried out since the previous inspection. These improvements were due to various influences, such as recommendations of Federal coal-mine inspectors, orders and suggestions of State mine inspectors, initiative of mining company officials, cooperation of miners individually and collectively, or the safety efforts of other groups.
1. Sprays have been installed at the dumping point in the tipple and the coal dust is allayed with a suitable wetting solution.
2. Officials now carry special roof-testing rods.
3. Two thousand cars of refuse have been loaded out of the main intake airway.
4. A number of fire-resistant stoppings have been built in several panel entries, and a number of wooden stoppings have been plastered with cement.
5. The abandoned 1 west section of the mine has been sealed with substantial concrete bulkheads.
6. Seventy mine cars have been repaired by welding angle irons around the openings between the endgates and the sides of the cars.
7. The power wires at the permanent pump installations have been installed on insulators.
The inspector was afforded cooperation by company officials in conducting the inspection, and data requested were given promptly and fully. Respectfully submitted.
FRANK PERZ, Coal-Mine Inspector.
(U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines)
REINSPECTION No. 3
Company: Centralia Coal Co. Mine : No. 5 Mine.
The facts disclosed by the inspection of this mine, including both commendable conditions and practices and those that should be corrected, will be embodied in a detailed report to be made available to the public in accordance with the Federal Coal Mine Inspection and Investigation Act of 1941 (H. R. 2082).
The purpose of this preliminary report is to point out good features as well as certain unsafe practices and conditions that should be corrected promptly.
The mine is ventilated by means of a reversible-type fan located underground, and it was delivering 58,590 cubic feet of air a minute, which is adequate for present needs. One hundred men work underground on the day shift and 19 on the night shift.
The air is directed to the working faces in one continuous current and it is controlled by means of concrete, wooden, and fire-resistant stoppings, and doors erected singly. A number of fire-resistant stoppings have been built in panel entries since the previous inspection; this is a commendable improvement.
In numerous instances, it was noted that crosscuts are at intervals exceeding 60 feet, and in 16 north off 1 west, rooms were driven as much as 180 feet without intervening crosscuts.
The present fan, or a new fan of adequate size and capacity to ventilate the mine properly, should be installed on the surface, and it should be installed so as to permit the prompt reversal of the air flow.
Stoppings between the intake and return air of all main haulageways should be constructed of substantial incombustible material. On branch haulageways, stoppings should be constructed of incombustible or fire-resistant material.
Doors used to control ventilation should be erected in pairs to form air locks, or where this is not feasible, tight check curtains, well-maintained, should be hung in connection with single doors.
Crosscuts should be made at 60-foot intervals.
AIR AT WORKING FACES
The quantity of air was adequate, and 6,480 cubic feet of air a minute or more was measured in the last crosscut in each set of working entries.
The mine is operated as nongassy, and no gas was detected by means of a permissible flame safety lamp during this inspection. However, the results of the analyses of air samples collected during the September 1942 inspection disclosed that the mine was liberating a sufficient amount of methane to warrant classifying the mine as gassy.
CONTROL OF COAL DUST
No method of allaying dust is used in this mine, and very dusty atmospheres are prevalent during cutting, loading, and transportation operations. Throughout this inspection, extremely large accumulations of fine coal and coal dust were noted on the haulage roads and in the working places, mostly due to coal spilling from cars that are in a state of poor repair.
Water or a wetting solution should be used to allay the coal dust on the cutter bars of mining machines, on the coal pile before and during loading, and at other sources of dust formation.
The fine coal and coal dust on the haulage roads should be loaded into cars and removed from the mine as soon as possible, and the coal and dust in the working places should be cleaned up systematically as the working faces advance.
Mine cars should be maintained as nearly dusttight as possible.
This mine, which is classed as gassy by the Bureau of Mines, should be operated as such.
ROCK DUSTING No rock dusting has been done in this mine during the past year. The coal dust in the mine is very dry and is easily raised into suspension, which presents a serious explosion hazard.
This mine should be rock-dusted thoroughly in all open, unsealed places to within 40 feet or less of the faces, so that the incombustible content of the resultant dust will be at least 65 percent, plus 1 percent for each 0.1 percent of methane present in the ventilating current.
Permissible explosives, fired by means of fuze and detonator caps and stemmed with clay dummies, are used to blast the coal. In most instances, it was noted that the explosives were stored near the working faces while the electric drills were in operation.
Permissible explosives should be fired only with electric detonators of proper strength and permissible shot-firing units.
Electric power should be cut off equipment at or near the face before explosives are taken to such face, during charging, and between charging and firing of shots.
ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT, WIRING, AND GUARDING
The electrical equipment is of nonpermissible type, and inspections for methane are not made before the equipment is taken in by the first open crosscut of
working places. Power wires in a number of places are installed on both sides of the entries, consequently, the telephone lines are near the power wires. In numerous instances, power wires were observed to be contacting timbers, and in general, the power and trolley wires are not guarded where persons are required to pass under them.
Each working place should be inspected carefully for methane by a certified official or other competent person immediately before electrical equipment is taken in by the first open crosscut or operated in a working place.
All power wires should be installed on the same side of the roadways as the trolley wires.
Telephone lines should be installed on the side opposite the power and trolley wires.
The trolley and power wires should not be permitted to contact timbers, and they should be guarded properly at all places where persons are required to work or pass under the wires.
A standard plan of timbering has not been adopted. The working places in the track-loading sections were generally well timbered to within about 7 feet of the faces, but in the shuttle-car loading sections a wide roadway is maintained which is not timbered properly to afford adequate protection for the workmen. Safety posts and temporary cross bars are not generally used near the working faces.
Throughout this inspection, loose, overhanging roof was noted at the working faces and along the haulage roads in the working sections.
If injuries from falls of roof and sides are to be reduced at this mine, a standard plan of timbering should be adopted, which should include the use of cross bars on the roadways in the shuttle-car sections, and safety posts or temporary cross bars near all working faces; the adopted plan should be enforced strictly.
Loose, overhanging roof, along haulageways, and places where men are required to work or travel should be removed or supported securely immediately following detection.
HAULAGE-ROADWAYS, ETC. Haulage roads throughout the mine are generally dirty. Clearance is inadequate and shelter holes are not provided. Small painted boards are still used on the rear end of trips in place of trip lights.
Haulage roads should be kept free of coal spillage and debris.
Where practicable, there should be a continuous clearance on the side opposite the trolley wire, from the shaft bottom to all working faces, of at least 30 inches from the nearest obstruction to the farthest projection of any moving equipment.
Shelter holes should be provided along all haulageways at 60-foot intervals.
Permissible electric trip lights should be used on the front of all trips pushed and on the rear of all trips pulled.
All of the underground employees and officials continue to use open-flame carbide lamps.
Permissible electric cap lamps should be used by all persons for illumination in the mine.
UNDERGROUND GENERAL All except two of the underground employees wear protective hats, and about 80 percent of the men wear safety-toe shoes. The men working around machinery, and the haulagemen continue to wear loose-fitting clothing.
Smoking is permitted in the mine.
Since the previous inspection, the abandoned 1 west section has been sealed with 6 concrete stoppings; this is a commendable improvement.
Protective hats and protective shoes should be worn by all persons while on duty in and about the mine, and haulagemen and those who work around machinery should wear snug-fitting clothing.
Smoking is a definite fire and gas-ignition hazard, and should not be permitted in the mine.
SURFACE HAZARDS Since the previous inspection, sprays have been installed at the dumping point in the tipple and the coal dust is allayed with a suitable wetting, solution; this is a commendable improvement. The coal dust is said to be cleaned from the tipple daily; however, large accumulations of dust were noted throughout.
Several machinery drive belts in the surface and underground shops, and several gears in the tipple were unguarded.
The coal dust in the tipple should be cleaned more thoroughly, and where it is impracticable to clean the coal dust from remote places, such places should be rock-dusted thoroughly.
The machinery drive belts in the surface and underground shops and the exposed gears in the tipple should be guarded properly.
CAGES AND OTHER HOISTING EQUIPMENT The hoist is equipped with automatic overwind and overspeed and automatic stop controls that are tested daily, but 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 or lowered.
The sides of the cages should be enclosed fully, and safety gates should be provided across the openings when men are hoisted or lowered.
GENERAL COMMENTS Joint safety meetings of men and officials are not held, and a safety organization of workmen and officials was not maintained.
A safety organization of employees and officials should be established, and joint safety meetings should be held at least once a month.
The officials and the employees extended full cooperation and assistance during this inspection.
FRANK PERZ, Inspector.
[NOTE.—This release is issued by direction of the Federal Coal Mine Inspection Act of
May 7, 1941 (Public Law 49, 77th Cong.)]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF MINES
[For release Sunday, March 4, 1945)
Two MARION COUNTY, ILL., MINES INSPECTED
The operation of two coal mines at Centralia, Marion County, Ill., as gassy again has been urged by Federal inspectors to guard against the ignition of explosive gas, the Bureau of Mines disclosed today.
The recommendation applies to the Centralia Coal Co.'s 1,893-ton-a-day No. 5 mine and the Marion County Coal Mining Corp.'s 1,153-ton-a-day Glenridge mine which were inspected recently for a fourth time by Government investigators. The former employs 235 men and the latter 160. The Bureau had classified both mines as gassy during previous inspections.
NO. 5 MINE
To eliminate practices which have caused fires and mine explosions at other operations, Federal Inspector Frank Perz recommended exclusive use of permissible electric cap lamps by all underground employees instead of open-flame lights, a ban on smoking underground, tests for explosive gas before and after blasting, and extreme care in operating nonpermissible electrical equipment in face regions at the No. 5 mine.
As other major improvements, Perz suggested changes in the ventilating system to provide better quality air at working places, a standard plan of timbering, “spragging" or "blocking” undercut coal, safer use of explosives, better control of coal dust, shelter holes, unobstructed clearance, and other haulage betterments,
electrical safeguards, increased fire protection, wider use of protective clothing, wearing of goggles by certain employees, more hoisting and mechanical safe guards, State certification of section foremen, and an organized safety program. Production for each lost-time injury was 8,586 tons in 1944 (one accident was fatal), compared with 10,715 tons in 1943 (two fatal accidents) and the national average of 10,700 tons for bituminous mines.
Perz said that 2,000 cars of refuse had been loaded out of the mine since the previous inspection, better ventilating stoppings had been provided, and the abandoned 1 west section had been sealed effectively. As other improvements he listed the repair of 70 mine cars, insulators for power wires at permanent pump installations, the use of roof-testing rods by officials, and better control of coal dust in the tipple.
Among the precautions suggested by Federal Inspector W. W. Kessler to eliminate ignition hazards at the Glenridge mine were the use of permissible electric cap lamps instead of open-flame lights, a ban on smoking underground, tests for explosive gas before and after blasting, and extreme care in operating nonpermissible electrical equipment in face regions.
Kessler also urged adoption of a systematic timbering plan and better roof control to curb accidents caused by roof falls, adequate ventilation of working places, increased safety in using explosives, unobstructed clearance and other haulage improvements, more attention to controlling coal dust, better fire protection, additional electrical, mechanical, and hoisting safeguards, examinations of the mine within 3 hours before the shift enters, wider use of protective clothing and goggles, a more effective system of checking men in and out, closer supervision, and a broad, organized safety program. He reported that production per lost-time injury was 9,446 tons in 1944 (there was one fatal accident), compared with 9,525 tons in 1943 (two fatalities) and the national average of 10,700 tons at bituminous mines.
As improvements Kessler listed safer storage of explosives, guarding of belt drives in the drill press and trip hammer, and frame-grounding of the electric welding machine.
Copies of the reports are available for inspection 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. 4, NO. 5 MINE, CENTRALIA COAL CO., CENTRALIA, MARION COUNTY, ILL., JULY 16-19, 1945 (By Frank Perz, coal-mine inspector)
This report is based on an inspection made July 16-19, 1945, to obtain information relating to health and safety conditions at this mine in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Coal-Mine Inspection and Investigation Act of 1941 (H. R. 2082). Improvements made since the previous inspection, January 8-11, 1945, are recorded, and additional hazards observed are discussed. Recommendations included in the last report, which are not applicable under present conditions, have been omitted,
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.
The mine is opened by two timber-lined shafts, each 545 feet deep, and suck to intersect the Illinois No. 6 coal bed, which averages 78 inches in thickness in this mine. A total of 251 men is employed, of which number 118 work underground on the day shift and 82 on the night shift, compared with a total of 235 employees at the time of the January 1945 inspection. The average daily production is 1,832 tons of coal, which is slightly less than the amount produced at the time of the previous inspection. The total production for the year 1944 was