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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 697

locality, many such falls occur where ordinary and even careful in- 
spection would fail to reveal the danger. Most of these accidents, 
also, it will be noted, ocur at the working faces. 
While it has been said that accidents occur in greater number from 
the causes above given, yet it will also be seen by the table given below
that one-half of the accidents occurring in this field during the past 
year have been caused by "windy " shots and explosions of all charac-
ter in the mines. In considering this question we are met with a very 
perplexing problem. The first thing to be noted is that the old-fash- 
ioned method of mining by undercutting the coal has become abso- 
lutely obsolete, a fact which is very much to be regretted, and there 
has been a constant tendency to drift into the pernicious, dangerous, 
and costly method of shooting the coal off the solid, and however 
much this may be deprecated, it seems that this practice is here to 
stay, and that no efforts of those who realize the danger to life and 
property of this manner of mining coal will ever accomplish the re- 
turn to the safer and more workmanlike method of undercutting and 
shearing. But there is another source of danger which, no doubt, has 
played an important part in many accidents of this character, and 
that is the fact that in many instances an inferior grade of powder 
has been gradually introduced in the market, which inferior grade 
has been well known and proven to be of a very dangerous character, 
and no doubt has been a frequent element in the disasters which have 
been so frequent in this Territory. 
It has long been my wish prior to my experience as mine inspector. 
and especially since that time, to reduce to a minimum the dangers 
existing from the use of explosives in mines, and realizing that my 
efforts were unavailing to prevent the now universal practice of 
shooting the coal off the solid, my attention has been turned to other 
methods of limiting this danger, and to that end I addressed a letter 
on March 7, 1904, to the Coal Operators Association at South Mc- 
Alester, Ind. T., which represents a large number of the coal com- 
panies in this locality, asking that some steps be taken for the purpose
of formulating rules and regulations for the purpose of minimizing 
as far as possible the dangers from shot firing. At the request of 
this association I made a somewhat lengthy report, which will be 
found in full on page 130 of my annual report for the year ended 
June 30, 1904, and which report clearly sets forth that many of these 
accidents were brought about by the reckless and improper use of 
powder, as well as the inferiority of the grade in use. 
The matter at that time was not carried any further, but a con- 
stantly recurring series of accidents, which happened from such 
causes, forced the matter to the attention of all interested, and on 
November 29, 1904, I received a letter from Mr. Bennett Brown, 
commissioner for the Southwestern Interstate Coal Operators Asso- 
ciation, stating that the question of shot firing in the South McAlester
district had reached the acute stage and requested my attendance at 
a meeting of both the operators and the miners to be held in this 
city on December 1, 1904. This meeting was duly held and a very 
full representation of both operators and coal miners was had. The 
result of this meeting was the formulation of a set of rules regulating 
the use of powder and the method of shot firing in this locality. 
The rules follow. 

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