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ILW A YS, RAILWAYMEN, and…

THE WASHINGTON LABOUR CONFERENCEI

l Workmen's Examiners. I

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l Workmen's Examiners. I (Continued.) I BY SCRANTON." I In my last artikile on the above subject I out- lined a. scheme whereby the miners could, by its adoption, secure the most effioient, and at the same time an economical method of inspection by their own examiners. If they decide to ap- point full-time or perma.icmt examiners so much the better, the scheme would still hold good, but with the added advantage that, on that account their range of selection would be wider. When you appoint part-time examiners, these men put in most of their time at their ordinary occupation, and only go out occasionally to in- speot the colliery. A man will invariably work, harder when lie is out inspecting a colliery, than he would if he was working in hj-s ow n place, and will probably get less money for it. Now this is not a very alluring prospect for oa position, and you will hardly have the temerrty to advertise it. You will not expect men to come from adjacent collieries, and, in fact few men from your own colliery will apply. Why is this so? What are the l'el 180118 The reasons are varoius, but the two chief are :â REASON No. 1. You must be qualified above your fellows, and, if possiWe, up to the standard of the colliery manager, so far as the science and art of mining is concerned, with its attendant rules and regu- lations. fn addition you should be a man of strong character, and well informed, ready to meet the manager or his officials an any point and hold your own. REASON No. t. I The second reason is that where you have part- time examiners the inspection is intermittent. That is, the inspection- is carried out occasion- ally at no fixed intervals, as a rule. But on the other hand, you may inspect the mine or parts thereof regularly, and still the same objection holds good. The objection is, ithat he would work harder that day than he would were he in his own place, and an all probability get less money for it. During a workman's inspection the man that works the 'hardest is undeniably tho workmen's examiner. I think it has been shown conclusively that you cannot expect to have the inspection carried out satisfactorily, and by the best men, under the part-time method of appointing Examiners. There is one solution and that is the appointment of whole time examiners; the post to be as widely adver- tised as possible. QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE POST. I The qualification stipulated by the Mines Act, 1911, is not very difficult, and is the mini- mum qualification t'hat could be imposed. It requires that workmen's inspectors must be, or have been, practical working miners; and to have had at least five years' experience of un- derground work. This is not good enough for the miners they should in their own interests insist on additional qualifications, not necessarily in the Act, but by adopting some method of ap- pointment as I jiave already outlined. Workmen's examiners should in the first place hold fireman's certificates. In the second place they should in addition to these certificates possess a good, sound knowledge of all the regu- lations that govern the working of the mines. It is essential that they should be well versed in the following:â (1) The Coal Mines Act, 1911. (2) General and special regulations made under that Act. (3) Explosives in Coal Mines Order. (4) Rescue and Aid Order. (5) Special Rules for thp Installation and use of electricity in Mines. (6) The Act regulating the hours of work in mins: Not only should the examiners have a good knowledge of the above, but their should also have some idea as to their interpretation, and application to mining conditions. To possess this requires study, experience, and contact with mining men and literature. Practically little or nothing is done by the minilng; c-ommunity irtself to deal with the pre- vention ofaeeidents in mines; and I am firmly convinced that it is time the miners themselves tackled this matter in a more businesslike man- net- than they have hitherto. I Should like to say in conclusion that after considerable experience, it is found that there are numerous matters lying buried underneath our coal-mining legislation, of inestimable value to the workman, which they never discover, and which in consequence are never applied. There may just as well be no law on mining, as to have a law which is is ignored, and violated through nearly every section or clause it con- tains, where the miner's safety is concerned. Tt is hoped that the miners will insist upon the maximum means of safety the law provides, and where the law fails, to push forward and insist upon more exacting means of safety, until acci- dents will be so reduced that they will be scarcely know n. I may later on cite cases of I collieries, where tihis lias been done.

H. Seymour Berry & The StrikeI

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