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)
REPORT OF MINE INSPECTOR FOR INDIAN TERRITORY. 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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