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Mr. Robert McLaren's Report.
Reports on the Inspection of Mines under the Coal Mines Regulation Acts, 1887 and 1896, and the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Acts, 1872 and 1875, and of Quarries under the Quarries Act, 1894, and Factory and Workshop Act, 1901, in connection with Mines and Quarries, for the year ending 31st December, 1906.-By Robert McLaren.
77, Colinton Road,
12th March, 1907.
The district comprises eleven counties under the Coal and Metalliferous Mines Acts, namely Clackmannan, Edinburgh, Fife, Haddington, Kinross, Lanark (East), Linlithgow, Peebles, Ross, Stirling (East) and Sutherland, while the counties comprised under the Quarries Act and Factory and Workshop Act in connection with mines and quarries are Aberdeen, Banff, Berwick, Caithness, Clackmannan, Edinburgh, Elgin, Fife, Forfar, Haddington, Inverness, Kincardine, Kinross, Lanark (East), Linlithgow, Nairn, Orkney, Peebles, Perth, Ross and Cromarty, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Shetland, Stirling (East) and Sutherland.
The Coal Trade remained very much what it was at the end of last year up to the end of September, and the demand for all classes of coal was moderate, but from October to the end of the year trade underwent a decided change, and the close of the year saw all the mines very busy. An advance of 64 per cent. was given to the men, making the wage 5/9 per shift, or 433 per cent. above the 1888 basis.
Developments are going steadily forward in Fifeshire and Mid and East Lothian, and the year saw the completion of the sinking of the Fife Coal Co.'s Mary Pit, at Lochore, to a depth of 670 yards, this being the deepest shaft in the district and in Scotland. In the Eastern portion of Fifeshire a bore has been put down to the base of the carboniferous limestone measures, and has attained a depth of 1,410 yards.
The oil trade continues in a prosperous condition.
The quarrying trade has not improved during the year, and, if anything, is worse than a year ago.
Inspection duties.-The Assistant Inspectors and myself were engaged during the whole year, except for a few weeks' holiday, in the work of inspection. A change took place towards the end of the year when you were pleased to transfer Mr. J. M. Carey to Durham, and appoint Mr. J. Masterton to succeed him. I am pleased to be able to state that I was ably assisted in the work by Mr. E. B. Whalley.
With few exceptions the scene of every accident, fatal and non-fatal, was visited and reported on, and in the case of the former the inquiry, under the Fatal Accidents Inquiry (Scotland) Act, was attended either by myself or one of the assistants.
Several complaints were received and all had attention, and the matters complained of, if well founded, were remedied.
All the mines under the Coal Mines Regulation Act were visited at least once, and many were inspected several times owing to accidents occurring, and opportunity was taken of making a thorough inspection of the seam or section of working places when inquiring into the accident.
An underground inspection was made at 15 of the 19 metalliferous mines at work. In addition to the inspections made at the mines a large number of the quarries throughout the district were visited.
The undernoted shows the work done by each inspector:
A large proportion of my time was taken up with clerical work, which is on the increase; my evenings are almost wholly occupied in attending to correspondence, and other necessary work pertaining to the duties of an inspector in charge of a district, and it is only by doing this work in the evenings that I can get out to attend to the work of inspection.
I had notice of one case where the men employed at a large colliery in Lanarkshire caused an underground inspection to be made under General Rule 38.
There are also four Appendices (1) List of Fatal Accidents, and List of Deaths not comprised; (2) List of Prosecutions; (3) List of Questions set at last Examination; (4) List of Plans of Abandoned Mines deposited during the year.