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Section 3c.—*Less than 6,000 cubic feet of air a minute was reaching the last open crosscuts in the 15, 16, 17, and 18 east entries, and 10, 11, and 12 west entries.

*The quantity of air reaching the last open crosscut in each pair of entries should be not less than 6,000 cubic feet a minute,

Section 3d.—The air current at many of the working faces was not of sufficient volume and velocity to dilute and carry away smoke and harmful gases produced by blasting.

The air current at the working faces should be of sufficient volume and velocity to dilute and carry away smoke and harmful gases produced by blasting.

Section 6a.—The faces of 17 and 18 east butt entries had been advanced more than 100 feet beyond the last open crosscuts.

These entries should not be advanced more than 60 feet beyond the last open crosscuts.

Section 66.-Two or more crosscuts were left open in 15 east, and 11 and 12 west entries.

Crosscuts between entries should be kept closed, except the last one in a pair of entries.

Section 6e.—Rooms were being driven beyond the last crosscuts in 16 and 17 east entries.

Rooms should not be turned off an entry beyond the last crosscut.

Section 10.—*A single unattended door was used to control the air current in 15 east entry and 12 west entry.

*Doors on haulage entries, except in case of panel or room entries in process of development should be erected in pairs to provide suitable air locks or single doors should be attended.

Section 76.-*It was the practice of the motormen on the gathering locomotives to leave the ventilation doors open while gathering coal from the working faces.

*Doors should be kept closed except when men or equipment is passing through the doorways. Motor crews and other persons who open doors should see that the doors are closed before leaving them.

Section 82.-Line brattice was not used at necessary places to conduct air to the faces.

Substantially constructed line brattice should be used from the last open crosscut of an entry or room, when necessary to remove gases, explosives fumes, and smoke.

Section 9a.-Abandoned workings were not posted.

Abandoned workings should be posted to warn unauthorized persons against entering the territory.

Section 10d.—*Preshift examinations of the mine were not made.

*Fire bosses should make an examination of this mine before other men are permitted to enter. See article V, sections 10d, 10e, 10f, 10g, and 10h of the Federal mine safety code for duties of fire bosses,

Article VI, Coal and rock dust Section la.—*Excessive accumulations of coal dust were present along the haulage entries.

*Coal dust should not be permitted to accumulate excessively on roadways.

Section 10.-*Most of the working places were dry, and excessive dust was thrown into suspension during the cutting operations, but provision was not made to allay the dust at its source.

*Water or water with a wetting agent added to it or other effective methods should be used to allay the dust at its source.

Section 20.-*Most of the mine was dry and dusty, but the mine had never been rock-dusted.

*Rooms and entries that are not definitely wet should be rock-dusted to within 80 feet of the faces.

Section 20,*The back entries were dry and dusty, and had never been rockdusted.

*The back entries should be adequately rock-dusted for at least 1,000 feet outby the junction with the first active entry.

Article VII. Transportation Section 3a.—*Excessive accumulations of loose coal and rock along the main haulageway presented a hazard.

*The main haulageway should be cleaned and maintained in a manner that will insure safe haulage operations.

Section fa.—*Ample clearance was not provided in the recently developed main haulage entry between 12 and 13 east.

*Recently developed haulageways should have a continuous unobstructed clearance of at least 24 inches from the farthest projection of moving equipment.

Section 4e.-*The clearance space along haulageways from the surface to the active workings, was obstructed with loose rock, dirt, and posts.

*At least 24 inches of the clearance space should be kept free of obstructions.

Section 60.-*None of the locomotives was equipped with a warning device, and the storage-battery locomotives were not equipped with headlights.

*All the locomotives should be equipped with warning devices, and the storagebattery locomotives should be equipped with headlights.

Section 6d.—*Trip lights were not used.

*An enclosed trip light should be used on the rear of each trip pulled and on the front of each trip pushed. Trip lights need not be used during gathering operations at working faces.

Section 6h.-Motormen were observed getting off locomotives which they were in motion.

Motormen should not get off locomotives while the locomotives are in motion. Section 6i. *Trips were coupled by hand while in motion.

*All trips and all traffic equipment should come to a complete stop before couplings are made by hand, unless a coupling hook is used.

Section 6k.-*The surface incline was not provided with a stopblock. *The surface incline should be equipped with a positive-acting stopblock at or above the knuckle.

Section 60.-*Main haulage locomotives were not kept under control while hauling coal trips down grades.

*Slides, skids, or other adequate means should be used for trips on descending grades where the locomotive is not adequate to control the trip.

Section 76.—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.

Each man trip should be under the charge of a responsible person and it should be operated independently of any loaded trip of coal or other material.

Section 70—*Man-trip cars were overloaded.
*Cars on the man trip should not be overloaded.
Section Yd.-*Men rode under the trolley wire in the open mine cars.
*Persons should not ride under the trolley wire in open man-trip cars.

Section 78.-*Men unloaded from the man trip in a disorderly manner while the trip was in motion.

*Men should not unload before the cars in which they are riding come to a full stop and they should proceed from man trips in an orderly manner.

Section 1h._*The trolley wire was not guarded at man-trip stations where contact hazards existed.

*Trolley and power wires should be guarded effectively at man-trip stations where contact hazards exist. Article VIII. Electricity

Section 3a.—The doors on the underground substations were not arranged to close automatically in case of fire; therefore, the substation rooms were not fireproof.

The door of each substation should be arranged to close automatically in case of fire within the station, to make the room fireproof.

Section 40.-*Some of the power wires were nailed to posts.

* Power wires should be supported on properly installed insulators and should not touch combustible materials.

Section 4e2.-*The tracks in the butt entries were not bonded.

*At least one rail on butt entries should be well bonded, and cross-bonds should be installed at least every 200 feet.

Sertion he3.—*Most of the track switches on the butt entries were not bonded.

*Where track is used as a power conductor, switches on entries should be well bonded.

Section 493.—*At some places along the main haulageway, the trolley wire was directly over the rail.

*The trolley wire should be installed at least 6 inches outside the track gage line.

Section 494.—*Cut-out switches were not provided in the trolley wire on the main haulage entry and the active workings were more than 3 miles from the surface.

*The trolley wire on the main haulage entry should be provided with cut-out switches at intervals of not more than 2,000 feet.

Section 496.*The trolley wire was within 5 feet of the track throughout the mine and was not guarded at necessary places.

*The trolley wire should be guarded adequately where it is necessary for men to pass or work under it regularly and at both sides of doors.

Section 497.—*The trolley wire was extended beyond the last open crosscuts in 16, 17, and 18 east entries, and 12 west entry.

*The trolley wire should not extend beyond the last open crosscut.

Section 56.—*The mining machines and some of the underground pumps were not frame-grounded.

*This equipment should be frame-grounded.

Section 60.-*The motors on the trolley locomotives were not protected against excessive overload, and wires were used as substitutes for proper fuses in the electric circuits of several underground pumps.

*Fuses or equivalent protective devices of the correct type and capacity should be installed on the trolley locomotives to protect against excessive overload Wires or other conducting materials should not be used as a substitute for properly designated fuses.

Section 60.-—*Three underground pumps had open rheostats.

*Underground electric equipment should be provided with switches or other controls of safe design, construction, and installation.

Section 6f.-*Nonconducting platforms were not kept on the floor in front of the pump switches.

*Dry wooden platforms, rubber mats, or other electrically nonconductive material should be kept in place at each electric switchboard and power control switch.

Section 106.—*Cables on electric coal drills were not provided with overload protection.

*These cables should be provided with suitable overload protection and power taps.

Section 110.-*Electric-light wires were fastened to posts with nails at most places.

*Electric-light wires should be supported by suitable insulators.

Section 116.—*Electric lights were installed within 150 feet of advancing workings.

*Electric lights should not be installed within 150 feet of advancing workings.

Section 11c.—*Electric lights were installed so that they came in contact with combustible material.

*Electric lights should be installed so that they cannot come in contact with combustible materials. Article IX. Safeguards for mechanical equipment

Section 20.-*The brake riggings had been removed from the battery locomotives, and it was necessary to reverse the motors to stop the locomotives.

*A safety device removed from any machine should be replaced before the machine is put in operation. Article X. Underground fire prevention, fire control, and mine disasters

Section 1a.-—*Adequate fire-fighting equipment was not provided underground.

*Adequate fire-fighting equipment hhould be provided underground, such as supplies of rock dust at doors and other strategic places, water lines and hose, water or chemical trucks, and fire extinguishers.

Section 1h.-*Oil was stored along the roadways in the working sections in the original containers, a supply sufficient for several weeks.

*Underground storage places for oil and grease in excess of 2 days' supply should be of fireproof construction.

Section 1i.—*Lubricating oil was kept near the pumps in open containers. *Lubricating oil should be kept in closed metal containers.

Section 13.-*The underground battery-charging stations were installed in the open.

*The underground battery-charging stations should be of fireproof construction. Article XI. Miscellaneous

Section 49.-*The escapeway between 5 and 6 west entries was obstructed with water, and the escapeway between 11 and 12 east entries was obstructed with falls of shale. A squeezed condition between 9 and 10 west entries made this part of the escapeway unsafe and extremely difficult to travel.

*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 5b.-*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 7a.—*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 fa.-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.


The following additional recommendations are made in accordance with provisions in the Coal-Mine Inspection and Investigation Act of 1941, 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.


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
help in preventing accidents at this mine.
Respectfully submitted.

W. J. SYMONS, Coal-mine inspector.
R. J. KIRK, 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]

[blocks in formation]

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 opening, 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?
Mr. SYMONS. A shale roof.

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.

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