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LECTURE ON ACCIDENTS IN MINES,…

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=3 LECTURE ON ACCIDENTS IN MINES, AT THE BRISTOL MINING SCHOOL. BY MR. HERBERT MACKWORTH. The lecturer passed in review the waste and danger attending the thick coal working in Staffordshire/when it was not worked as long work," the sconge work" of South Wales, and the excavation of thick veins of coal generally. He alluded to the peculiar modes of working coal at Creuzot, the Slash, and the Bldeford Collieries, so as to avoid the ground running in, and recommended the more general adoption of long wali" working as the most skilful, economical, and safe. The duties of the officers of the collieries consist in examining and sounding the roof of the mine before the men enter, and at intervals during the day in seeing that there is always a spare supply of timber in each working place, and that the men put up temporary props or sprags, as well as the other timbers, in order to keep the vein or the roof from falling. The most careful men should be set to work where there is danger of any kind. The best place to teach a collier to be careful is in his working place, and the men ought to be visited at least as frequently underground as on the surface. No provision would tend so much to reduce the number of accidents in collieries as that of visiting the working places four times a day. Without frequent supervision it is impossible to keep up proper discipline, and without discipline in dangerous occupations, such as the army, navy, or in the mines, there is sure to be a much larger and unnecessary sacrifice of life. Arching should bit much more frequently substituted for timber than is the case at present; it should be put in as soon as the ground is got out, before the latter has time to settle or to ab. sorb the air, when the pressure becomes euormoug, and of'en irresistible. Accidents in shafts amounted to 13P,and were next in importance from their frequency, forming one-fifth of the whole number; 29 out of f he 13S arose from persons falling in from the surface, a danger which will be much removed by the applicatiou of the general rules of the Inspection Act,—shaft covers or slid in z fences lifted up by tiiecages arenow generally used 28accidents occurred while persons were ascending or descending from failure in the machiuery, or from ihe cages not being covered at the top and fenced at the sides; boys are thrown off from having no handle to hold on by 16 persons were killel. by falling from stages, or landings, in the shafts, chit-fly in sinking or shifting pumps. A greater number of accidents have occurred trcm stones, timber, &c., falling from the sides of the shafts, Vo hieh, the provision that the sides of the shafts shall be securely walled will hereafter greatly reduce. From ropes and chains break- ing in shafts, or on inclines, there have been, amongst 30,0(10 workmen, 17 accidents in 5 years, one third of them from ropes so much worn as to have been spliced splicing is now almost universally condemned in this district. The lecturer observed, that any one who com. pared the dangers of rising and lowering men in col- lieries with the excessive labour and danger of ladders, or the cost of .e man-machines" in metalliferous mines, must be convinced that no greater boon could be offered to the workmen in the latter than raising and lowering them by ropes, guides, and good machinery. As many as 41 fatal accidents have arisen from trams underground, 11 of them being on inclines. These were attributable to employing very young boys to drive the horses, and to run pass the trams to open doors whilst the trams were in motion. The mortality amongst loys under 15 years of age, are fourfold its usual aver- age. Of exp'osions of gunpowder there bad been 10, chiefly in consequence of not using the safety-fuse. Several great irruptiens of water had taken place, which were attributable, in most instances, to the want of plans, and the precaution of boring in advance of an exploring drift. At the Uwendratth Colliery, Carmar- thenshire, the workings had extended up to the bottom of a valley, in which there was a great depth of quickgand 60,0L0 cubic yards of quiet sand ran in in a few hours, with such force that the rush of air broke the pit framing. Seven boilers have burst of the haycock or wagon shapes; they were generally in bad repair, and in one case the stay was loose. Suffocation by underground gases, although immediately fatal on only four occasions; was connected with the greatest amount of suffering and loss to which the mining community was subject. lln Poor air destroyed more lives than all the accidents. Injury is done to the workmen long before the air is so detoriated as to cause a light to burn dimly. Explosions of fire damp were also generally due to in. adequate ventilation. Although but 74 fatal accidents of this description have occurred, as many as 173 lives had been lost. The two greatest explosions in England -those at Cymmer destroying 116, and at Lund Hill destroying 189 lives-were lessons to be remembered by every owner and manager of a colliery. In each of them fire-damp was only occasionally seen, and they were worked with naked tights. Explosions seldom or never ilow occurred in the mcst fiery collieries, because they are worked with locked safety-lamps. After the fearful examples we have had, if an txplosion occurred 'J1 a coihery)where safety-lamps are not exclusively used, tlie blame should be attached to the owner or manager. The men should be prevented from entering any fire- damp colliery until the fireman bad been through the work and come out. If firedamp were found in any distric', the working of the mine should be stopped, and the entrance guarded like a powder magazine, until the fire-damp was removed by ventilation. Great harm has been done by the unqualified condemnation of colliers as reckless, when the fact is, few classes of men pay more attention to tlieir own safety than colliers: a rew there will always be who, by a careful manager, will be placcd where they can do little arm. For every exam- on the part of a collier, it would not be difficult to quote examples of the recklessness of ma- nagers or owners, whose own lives are not subject to the same risk. From a comparison of the ages of the per- sons killed, it appears that the boys under 15 incur double ™ °! ilIe the risk is the k"* men between 20 and 30 years of age. The number of accidents in coal mines is year by year decreasing, although the production of coal and the number of colliers increase rapidly. Mining in metalli. ferous mines is not less dangerous: Mr. Blee ascertained that in the great copper and tin mining district of Gwen- nap, Cornwall, one out of five miners met with a violent death. In the coal mines of Great Britain it is about one cut of eight, but in some districts the average rises ot one in three. The lecturer then 'gave some hints as to the removal of wounded n.en out of the mine, the means of restoring respiration, and the uses ef accident- "D.aid ,tha.t he anticipated from the instroo nnmhf! n"ninK schools, not so much a reduction of the number of accidents as the adoption of philanthropic measures, directed to the physical and moral wdfare of the mining class, by which a still greater a«greeate of good might be effected. cgregate ot

AN ATLAS GRATIS "Trn THE DISPATCH

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