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trolley wires are not guarded at several places where men are required to pass under.

Telephone wires should be on the opposite side of the power wires throughout the mine.

All trailing cables on cutting machines, drills, Joy loading machines, and locomotives should be provided with fuses.

Trolley wires should be guarded where men are required to pass under them.


Room timbering is generally good.

It is recommended, however, that cross bars be used and set as close as possible to the face of all working places.

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.


('arbide lamps are used by all underground employees.

All underground employees should use permissible electric cap lamps in place of the carbide lamps now being used.


About 90 percent of the employees wear hard hats, and only 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 accumulation of dust were observed on the floors. Yo 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, saws, and pinions.

All pinions, belts, gears, saws, and sprocket wheels should be properly guarded.

CAGES AND OTHER HOISTING EQUIPMENT Chains or gates are not provided across the open ends of the cage platforms while men are being hoisted or lowered.

Gates or chains should be provided at the ends of the cage platforms.


Smoking is permitted in the mine.
Smoking should be prohibited underground.
No safety meetings are being held by mine officials and employees.

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.



(NOTE.—This release is issued by direction of the Federal Coal Mine Inspection Act of

May 7, 1941 (Public Law 49, 77th Cong.))



[For release Tuesday, December 21, 1943) THREE ILLINOIS COAL MINES REINSPECTED

Additional safeguards for life and property have been recommended by Federal coal-mine inspectors for three Illinois coal mines following routine reinspections in September, Dr. R. R. Sayers, Director of the Bureau of Mines. announced today.

The mines, employing 566 men and producing 4,415 tons of coal daily, are the Florida Coal Co.'s West mine near Coulterville in Randolph County, the Marion County Coal Mining Corp.'s Glenridge mine, and the Centralia Coal Co.'s No. 5 mine, both at Centralia in Marion County. Safety improvements made since the original inspecti in 1942 are commended in reports which have been submitted to the operating companies, Dr. Sayers informed Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes.


Improved ventilation, safer blasting and haulage practices, control of coal dust, and the elimination of ignition hazards were among the major recommendations resubmitted by Inspectors Samuel Pursglove 3d and F. J. Smith for the 1,615-ton*a-day West inine, which employs 257 men. To increase air 'in working places, the inspectors suggested detailed improvements in air-coursing facilities and the adoption of a split system of ventilation with overcasts. Regular tests for esplosive gas should be made with permissible flame safety lamps, and ignition hazards should be minimized by prohibiting smoking underground, replacing open-flame cap lamps with permissible electric-cap lamps, and restricting the operation of open-type electrical equipment to places unlikely to contain gas, they said. The Bureau representatives also recommended rules for systematic timbering, instructing workers in the vibration method of testing roof, using only permissible explosives handled and fired in a permissible manner, suspending power wires on insulated hangers and guarding them, and establishing a safety organization and first-aid training.

Several safety features provided since the first inspection in May 1942 were commended by the inspectors. These included a heavy screen guard for the generator room switchboard, fuse protection for certain switches, a stopblock at the shaft landing, records on daily hoisting equipment inspections, safer methods of drilling shot holes and handling misfires, and placing fire extinguishers in good condition.

GLENRIDGE MINE The Glenridge mine, which employs 158 men and produces 1,150 tons of coal daily, should be operated on a gassy basis, Inspectors Frank Kolisek and J. S. Malesky said after analyses of air samples disclosed insufficient oxygen and considerable methane, an explosive gas. Air in working places should be increased by improving ventilating facilities, tests for gas should be made with a pe:missible flame safety lamp not more than 3 hours before workers enter the mine, and ignition hazards should be eliminated, they added. The report contained other recommendations for using water and additional rock dust to control coal dust, storing and transporting explosives more safely and firing them in a permissible manner, maintaining unobstructed clearance and shelter holes along haulageways, printing and posting rules for systematic timbering, repairing electrical installations, and supervising underground operations more closely.

Accident rates were rising, company records showed and the inspectors proposed an aggressive safety program. Outstanding safety improvements made since the first inspection in July 1942 included installing enclosed-type switches in the tipple, repairing the escape-shaft lining, good timbering, instruction of workers in the vibration method of roof testing, better underground storage of explosives and fire runs after blasting, cleaning out airway, new fireproof fan house, rock dust, a ban on running ahead of moving trips, and better ventilation for the underground stable.


Renewing a recommendation submitted after the first inspection in September 1942, Inspectors J. F. Shilling and W. A. Gallagher advised that the Centralia No. 5 mine be operated on a gassy basis. They suggested moving the ventilating fan to the surface, reversing the air current so that haulageways will be ventilated with intake air, using a split system of coursing air, and eliminating ignition hazards. The mine employs 151 men and produces 1,650 tons daily.

Company records disclosed that 17 lost-time accidents, including two fatalities, occurred during the first 8 months of 1943. Both deaths were attributed to falls of roof, indicating a need for a standard plan of timbering, use of the vibration method of testing roof, and closer supervision, the inspectors said. Other recommendations called for the use of water and additional rock dust to control dust, safer surface storage of explosives and permissible methods of handling and firing them, adequate clearance and shelter holes and improvement of other haulage conditions and practices, and the elimination of electrical fire and shock hazards.

The inspectors commended several safety practices adopted since the original inspection, including safer storage of explosives underground, a check on the locations of oil and gas wells, and daily examinations of certain areas of the mine.

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.



(By F. J. Gallagher and C. F. Kahre, coal-mine inspectors)


This report is based on an inspection made June 5-6, 1944, 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. R. 2082. Improvements made since the last inspection, September 20–22, 1943, are recorded, and additional hazards observed are discussed. Recommendations included in the last 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.


The mine is opened by two timber-lined shafts approximately 545 feet deep and 100 feet apart. Mining is done in the Illinois No. 6 coal bed which averages 78 inches in thickness in this mine. A total of 226 men is employed ; 174 underground and 52 on the surface on two shifts. The average daily production is 1,900 tons of coal. The number of men employed and the daily tonnage has increased since the previous inspection. The mine has an estimated life of about 19 years at the present rate of production. The mine is recognized as gassy by the State department governing mining.


Open-type electric motors and switches are still being used in the tipple and dust accumulations were noted throughout the building.

These conditions were previously reported in the September 1943 report. The wooden coal storage bin in the vicinity of the shaft has not been made fire-resistant, and no fire doors have been erected at the shafts.

The hoisting equipment and practices were described in the September 1942 inspection report. The shaft timbering becomes dry during the winter months presenting a serious fire hazard.

Hoisting engineers are not required to undergo annual physical examinations. Records are now being kept of the inspections of the hoisting equipment, including ropes and sheave wheels. The sides of the cages are not enclosed and no gates have been provided for use across the open ends of the cages when men are riding. Positive stopblocks have been provided at the surface cage landings; a commendable improvement. Safety catches are examined daily but no tests are made to determine their effectiveness. Signals cannot be given from the cages as reported previously.

1. Motors 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 aecumulations or dust clouds about motors. Any replacements of or additions to, the present motors should be of dustproof type, if practicable.

2. Thorough cleaning of coal dust from the tipple should be done frequently, preferably daily.

3. The wooden coal-storage bin should be made fire-resistant, or fire doors should be installed at effective points in the shafts.

*4. The shaft linings should be fireproofed, or adequate protection should be provided against fire.

5. Hoisting engineers should undergo annual physical examinations. The physician's report of such examinations should be posted.

*6. The sides of the cages should be fully enclosed, and gates should be provided for use across the open ends of the cages when men are riding.

*7. Tests should be made at least every 2 months and a written record kept of the test ; preferably, drop tests should be made.

8. A signal device should be arranged at the surface and bottom landings so that signals can be given from the cages.

SURFACE BUILDINGS The conditions in the wash house and lamp house were essentially unchanged except the naphtha for safety lamps is kept in an approved container. The wash house still has only one exit and a disinfectant to prevent the spread of foot infections has not been provided.

1. There should be at least two exits from the wash house.

2. The wash house should have facilities for preventing the spread of foot infection. If foot baths are used the disinfectant should be changed daily.

GENERAL SURFACE CONDITIONS Materials and timbers were neatly and safely stored, and roads and paths were free of obstructions in the surface yards.

Fire protection on the surface as previously reported was adequate and oil is safely stored.

Surface buildings and surrounding areas were neat and orderly except for coal-dust accumulations in the tipple. Illumination was adequate in all surface buildings.

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.

There is no systematic method of timbering in effect at the mine. In several instances it was noted that timbering was not carried close enough to the working faces to afford adequate protection. Safety posts or temporary cross bars are not being used. An adequate supply of cap pieces of suitable size was on hand. Roof is tested by sounding with a pick, and no roof-testing rods are provided for officials or men working at the face.

*1. A method of systematic timbering should be adopted and a plan thereof posted ; the timbering method should be strictly enforced.

*2. Timbers should be set as close as practicable to all working faces and a sufficient number of safety posts or temporary cross bars should be set in all face areas before coal loading is begun.

*3. Officials should test exposed roof in working places visited and roof along haulageways with a special roof-testing rod. Special testing rods should also be provided for the use of men working at the face.

STORAGE, TRANSPORTATION, AND USE OF EXPLOSIVES The explosives-storage magazine has not been altered, and has not been barricaded on all sides as previously recommended. Also, the space between the inner and outer walls has not been filled with sand, and the area surrounding the magazine has not been cleared of dry grass and brush. The door, however, is locked with two five-tumbler padlocks and “Danger" signs have been properly posted. Screened ventilators have not been provided.

The detonator magazine complies fully with Bureau of Mines requirements.

Permissible explosives primed with detonator and fuze are still used to blast the coal.' Fuze is ignited by means of a carbide lamp.

Explosives are safely transported and stored underground. The timing of shots is dependent upon various lengths of fuze; hence, shots are fired in rapid succession. No fire runs are made after blasting and no tests for gas are made before or after firing.

*1. Shots should be fired only with electric detonators of proper strength; permissible shot-firing units should be used.

2. Shots should not be fired in rapid succession.

*3. Fire runs should be made after blasting and tests for explosive gas should be made before and after firing.

VENTILATION AND MINE GASES The mine is ventilated by means of a reversible-type fan described in the previous inspection reports. The fan was operated blowing and was delivering 61,000 cubic feet of air a minute. As previously reported, the fan is installed underground 100 feet south of the air shaft. The fan is not enclosed by an incombustible housing, and no explosion doors or weak wall construction is provided to allow for pressure relief in the event of an explosion. The volume of air being circulated has increased since the previous inspection due to cleaning falls in air courses as recommended.

The quantity of air was adequate except in the 21 and 22 south entries off 4 west and 18 and 19 south off 4 west, where less than 6,000 cubic feet a minute was found passing through the last crosscut.

The air is directed to the working faces over one continuous course, and the general method of ventilation was the same as reported after the September 1942 inspection. Stoppings in entries were of wooden construction, and doors were erected singly and equipped with latches. All doors, however, were self-closing, an improvement since the previous inspection. In some instances, crosscuts are at intervals exceeding 60 feet. No stoppings are built in room crosscuts and line brattice is not used. The air passes through old workings that are not regularly inspected before reaching the working sections. Haulage roads and hoisting are in return air.

A relatively small amount of methane was being liberated in the mine during this inspection. However, a sample collected during the September 1942 inspection contained 0.38 percent methane, a sufficient amount to warrant rating and operating the mine as gassy. Also, numerous oil wells have been driven through this coal bed in this mine, some of which are liberating methane. These conditions call for constant vigilance by mine officials and emphasze the necessity of maintaining adequate ventilation at all working faces.

The mine is recognized as gassy by the State department governing mining. No gas was detected during the inspection by means of a permissible flame safety lamp. It was stated that no gas has been detected since the mine was opened.

Preshift examinations are made, and the fire bosses use permissible flame safety lamps. Face bosses likewise use permissible flame safety lamps, however, these nen continue to ride into and out of the mine on a locomotive.

TABLE 1.-Analyses of air samples collected, June 5–6, 1944

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