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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I

Report of mine inspector for Indian territory,   pp. 641-704 PDF (25.9 MB)

Page 696

The average number of men and boys employed in and around this 
mine is 45. Total production of coal for the current year was 11,485 
tons. There were no accidents reported to me from this mine during 
the year. 
It is with some disappointment that the decrease in the number of 
accidents in the Indian Territory which I have previously been able 
to report has not continued during the past year, and, contrary to the 
experience of previous years, while coal production has decreased the 
number of accidents has increased. For the year ended June 30, 1901, 
there were 99 accidents, 30 of which proved fatal; for the past year 
there have been 114 accidents, 44 of which were fatal, making an 
increase of 15 accidents. In seeking for the cause of this increase, the
first thing that would attract attention is the fact that there were 23 
accidents by gas explosions, against 9 for the preceding year, and this 
alone would almost account for the increase. But in addition thereto 
there was also a very serious accident, which occurred in mine No. 19, 
operated by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Coal Company, some dis- 
tance from Wilburton, and the cause of which remains unknown, by 
which 13 men lost their lives, so that from these two sources we have 
27 additional accidents. A peculiarity of the accident at mine No. 
19 is that it is considered on all hands that every known precaution 
and every care had been taken by the operators of this mine to avoid 
such explosions, and this fact is freely stated by all parties, including
the mine workers, and especially those who had intimate knowledge 
of the interior workings of the mine; and this goes to show, as 
has often been claimed, but never so fully exemplified as in this acci- 
dent, that explosions, especially in the Indian Territory mines, will 
occur at times in spite of the utmost precaution and under the most 
unexpected and unforeseen conditions. 
The largest single item in the causes of accidents is that by pit cars, 
and these accidents, as has been before stated, are very liable to occur
in working steep and pitching veins. The next largest in number is 
that of gas explosions. Reference to the statement of gas explosions 
for the past year will clearly show that a large percentage, if not all,
of the gas explosions that occurred during the past year have been 
caused by absolute carelessness and negligence on the part of the 
workmen and in violation of both the rules and instructions of the 
company. It is a lamentable fact that continued familiarity with 
dangerous conditions breeds disregard and contempt for rules and 
regulations, which are constantly being violated by even the most 
experienced Coal miners, who are fully aware of the risks they run, 
and it seems that just so long as gas is given off from the fissures of 
the coal in the Territory and elsewhere so long will accidents occur 
in spite of all efforts. The next largest cause of accidents is the fall
of slate or rock from the roof above the working miner, and in this 
case also the majority of the accidents occur by the miner continuing 
to work under dangerous conditions known to himself. This is 
more fully shown by the table of accidents which have been classified 
under this head. It is true, however, that some of these accidents 
occur in this locality in spite of the utmost care. The roof is of a 
treacherous character and in the pitching veins, so common in this 

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