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*Escapeways should be kept in safe condition for travel and reasonably free from standing water and other obstructions.
Section 4j.—*Direction signs were not posted to indicate the designated escapeways.
*Direction signs should be posted conspicuously to indicate the designated escapeways.
Section 56.—*The check-in and check-out system did not provide means of positive identification on underground employees.
*An adequate check-in and check-out system should be adopted that would provide positive identification on the person of each employee working underground.
Section Ya.—*Employees who worked under the tipple and most of the employees working underground did not wear protective hats.
*Employees who work under the tipple or other places on the surface where falling objects may cause injury and all employees who work underground should wear protective hats.
Section 76.—*Most of the employees, both on the surface and underground, did not wear protective footwear.
*Protective footwear should be worn by all persons where falling objects may cause injury.
Section 70.-*Most of the employees did not wear goggles when doing work hazardous to the eyes.
*Approved-type goggles should be worn by all employees where there is a hazard from flying particles. Article XII. General safety conditions
Section ha.--First-aid equipment was not available in any of the working sections throughout the mine.
An adequate supply of first-aid equipment should be available at strategic locations near the working faces.
HAZARDS NOT COVERED SPECIFICALLY IN THE FEDERAL MINE SAFETY CODE
The following additional recommendations are made in accordance with provisions in the Coal-Mine Inspection and Investigation Act of 1911, Public Law 49; they supplement the Federal Mine Safety Code, and compliance with them is considered necessary for the safe operation of this mine. Miscellaneous
Carbide lamps were used by most of the employees for portable illumination underground.
Only permissible electric cap lamps should be used for portable illumination underground.
Smoking was practiced underground.
Smoking and carrying matches or other flame-making devices should not be permitted underground.
SAFETY IMPROVEMENT COMPLETED THIS INSPECTION
1. The accumulations of coal dust in the switch boxes and on the floors and ledges in the tipple were removed (article I, sec. 1b).
SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS COMPLETED BETWEEN INSPECTIONS
1. A record of the daily fan inspection was kept (art. V, sec. 1f). 2. Several underground pumps were frame-grounded (art. VIII, sec, 5b). 3. An enclosed switch was provided for the 12 east pump (art. VIII, sec, 6d).
4. All mining machines were provided with locking devices for the cutter chains (art. IX, sec. 1a).
5. All underground pump belts were guarded (art. IX, sec. 2a3).
The cooperation of officials and employees during this inspection is gratefully acknowledged.
The prevention of accidents requires cooperation between officials and employees, and such cooperation can only be attained when facts concerning
hazards are known. It is hoped that the facts in this report, therefore, will
W. J. SYMONS, Coal-mine inspector.
TABLE 1.-Analyses of air samples (Collected: June 1949. Mine: Sterling. Company: John M. Hirst & Co. Collected by: W. J. Symons
and R. J. Kirk]
Mr. KELLEY. You might go over the report and state for the benefit of the committee the conditions that set up an imminent danger to the workmen; the employees.
Mr. Symons. Do you want me to begin at the beginning of the report?
Mr. SMITH. Describe the mine and where it is and the kind of mine it is.
Mr. Symons. To begin with, the Sterling mine is a cooperative mine operated by between 145 and 150 men. The name of the mine is the Sterling mine. The name of the company is the John M. Hirst Co., located near Salineville in Carroll County, Ohio.
The mine employed at the time of our inspection 149 men, 134 of whom worked underground on one shift daily, 5 days a week.
Mr. BAILEY. What kind of mine?
Mr. SYMONS. A drift mine. It is operated by two drifts and one shaft. One drift is a main haulageway and the other is an old open
. ing, and the shaft is the main intake air course. It has been operated since about 1925 by this cooperative organization.
Before that it was operated by the Sterling Coal Co., which was a Canadian organization.
Mr. KELLEY. What seam of coal is it?
Mr. Symons. It is 7-A, or the Mahoning bed, which averages 36 inches in thickness.
Mr. KELLEY. What the committee would like to have you do is to go over the report. You do not need to go over every mining detail you have there, but pick out the things you say were most dangerous.
Mr. SYMONS. To begin with, in the face, temporary safety posts were not used. In some places permanent timbers were not set within 12 feet of the faces.
Mr. KELLEY. What kind of roof has it?
They use pellet black powder fired with sulfur squibs. In some cases they used dynamite fire with electric detonators for blasting rock. Metal tamping bars were used for tamping.
Mr. KELLEY. Metal?
Mr. Symons. Metal tamping bars. In many instances explosives were stored in rooms within 3 feet of the track.
Mr. KELLEY. Black powder?
Mr. Symons. Black powder. In some cases there was as much as a 3 weeks' supply of powder in one place. In one place two holes were lighted with squibs at the same time.
Under ventilation, there were more than 50 men employed on one continuous air current.
Mr. KELLEY. What does the State law require on that?
In one, two, three, four, five, and seven entries, the ventilation was insufficient, less than 6,000 cubic feet a minute.
In many of the places, in many of the butt entries, especially on the return side of the butt entry, there was no perceptible movement of air in the faces.
In two locations the entry had been driven more than 100 feet beyond the length of the last crosscut.
In three locations, two or more crosscuts just outside the face were left open, which meant there was no movement of air in the faces.
In two locations rooms were being driven in beyond the last crosscut of entry.
In two locations only single doors were used to direct the air current on main haulageways. It was the general practice when the motormen went through these doors, especially through doors on rooms, to leave the doors open while he gathered the coal.
Mr. KELLEY. Until he came back?
Brattice was not generally used. Preshift examinations were not made. There were excessive accumulations of coal dust along the haulage entrance. Most of the working places were dry and the mine had never been rock-dusted.
Mr. KELLEY. The mine is not a wet mine at all, or any section of it? Mr. Symons. One section was wet; the rest of it was dry.
Mr. KELLEY. Is coal dust present in sufficient quantities, do you think, in the mine to propagate an explosion?
Mr. Symons. Coal dust, you say?
Mr. Symons. Certainly. Most of the working places were dry, and there was no provision to allay the dust at its source.
The back entries were dry and dusty. They had never been rockdusted. There was an excessive accumulation of coal and rock along the main haulageway that made haulage hazardous.
The general clearance throughout the mine was obstructed with loose rock, dirt, and posts.
Mr. KELLEY. What clearance does the Ohio State mine law require?
Mr. SYMONS. I think 24 inches. I am not sure, but I think that 24 inches is the State law.
The provision of the Federal Mine Safety Code is at least 24 inches of clearance, to be kept free above obstruction.
The main haulage locomotives were not kept under control when hauling trips down grade.
You are asking for the most hazardous conditions, are you not? Mr. KELLEY. Yes.
Mr. Symons. Employees were hauled regularly in cars connected to loaded trips, and as many as 12 men were observed riding in open cars in this manner-behind upwards of 30 cars of coal.
Man-trips were overloaded.
In many places power wires were nailed to the posts. Cut-out switches were not provided on the main haulage entry, and the active workings were about 3 miles from the surface.
The trolley wire was within 5 feet of the track throughout the mine, and it was not guarded.
Storage battery locomotives were used for gathering coal from the room, and they had no brakes. They had to plug the motor to stop
With the exception of small pyrene fire extinguishers there was no fire-fighting equipment underground. Fire-fighting extinguishers were in two of the substations.
Mr. KELLEY. Is the mine emitting explosive gas? Mr. Symons. During this inspection we collected three air samples. Two of them contained one-tenth of 1 percent, which was a potential hazard.
Mr. KELLEY. Were the same conditions that you are outlining in this report prevalent in the previous report?
Mr. SYMONS. Yes.
Mr. KELLEY. Have there been any improvements since you first inspected it?
Mr. SYMONS. Very few.
Mr. SYMONS. In July 1947. It was first inspected under the Federal inspection in 1943.
Mr. McCONNELL. There has been very little change since that time? Mr. SYMONS. That is right. Mr. KELLEY. Have they ever had an explosion in the mine? Mr. SYMONS. There has never been an explosion in that mine. Mr. KELLEY. Not even a local one that you know of? Mr. SYMONS. Not that I know of. Mr. KELLEY. It would be hard to have a local explosion in a mine like that.
Mr. SYMONs. It could be local and we would not know anything about it.
The escape ways at three points were obstructed.
Mr. Symons. There were 65 violations in the most recent re ort. I covered what I considered the most hazardous.
Mr. KELLEY. Hazard involving imminent danger. Would you say that an explosion was likely to occur at any time?
Mr. SYMONS. I would.
Mr. KELLEY. Have you stated that fact in any of your reports-an explosion was likely to occur at any time?
Mr. Symons. I think about 2 years ago I made a statement to the extent that we considered black powder hazardous, and it was a factor toward an explosion. I think all these other violations as recited speak for themselves.
Mr. BAILEY. How often do you make inspections?
Mr. Symons. I inspected that mine in June. It was inspected by three other of our men in March. The mine was inspected as of June of this year, March of this year, August 1948, September 1948, July 1947, March of 1946, June of 1945, May of 1944, and July of 1942.
Mr. Bailey. Is that in keeping with your practice in inspecting mines, or have you had a suspicion that would lead you to inspect this more often than other operations?
Mr. SYMONs. In the most recent instance we inspected it oftener because we were conscious of the imminent dangers in that mine.
Mr. Bailey. Did you get any requests from the company for an inspection, or did you initiate the inspection on your own!
Mr. Symons. We initiated the inspection on our own.
Mr. BAILEY. What about the State Bureau of Mines of Ohio? Did they make any inspections of this mine?
Mr. SYMONS. I understand they do, but I could not make a statement in that regard.
Mr. BAILEY. To what extent do you get cooperation from the State bureau of mines? I understand that a copy of your inspection report goes to the Ohio Bureau of Mines, as well as to the company; is that right?
Mr. SYMONS. That is right.
Mr. BAILEY. You would not have access to any action that the bureau would take? . They do not tell the Federal Bureau of any action they take?
Mr. Symons. That is right.
Mr. PERKINS. The State Bureau of Mines in Ohio has received copies of all of your inspections of this particular mine, have they not?
Mr. Symons. They have.
Mr. SYMONS. I understand that 145 men have about $900 apiece in the mine.
Mr. WIER. Men who work there, or outside?
Mr. SYMONS. Men who work there. All I know is information that I received.
Mr. Wier. How many men did you say are employed there?
Mr. SYMONS. At the time of the last inspection there were 149 men employed.
Mr. WIER. And there are 145 men who are so-called shareholders ?