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Mr. J. B. Atkinson's Report.
Report on the Inspection of Mines and Quarries in the Newcastle District, for the year ending 31st December, 1906.-By J. B. Atkinson, M.Sc.
2, Devonshire Terrace,
Newcastle-on-Tyne, 31st March, 1907.
In accordance with Section 43 of the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887; Section 20 of the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act, 1872; and Section 2 of the Quarries Act, 1894; I have the honour to lay before you my fifth Annual Report, as Inspector in charge of the Newcastle Mines Inspection District, on the operation of these Acts and their amending Acts during the year 1906.
The work of the district has been attended to by myself and by Mr. W. Leck, Mr. A. D. Nicholson, and Mr. H. A. Abbott, the Inspectors assisting. Mr. Leck, whose duties are confined to Mines under the Metalliferous Mines Act and to Quarries, resides at Cleator Moor, in Cumberland, in which county and in the adjacent detached portion of Lancashire attached to this district and in the Isle of Man most of the mines under the Metalliferous Mines Act are situated. Mr. Nicholson, and Mr. Abbott, who act as Inspectors under all the Acts, both reside in Newcastle; their duties were principally confined to Mines under the Coal Mines Act and to Quarries, but they made occasional visits to Mines under the Metalliferous Mines Act.
We have investigated all the accidents reported under the three Acts. In the case of fatal accidents, the place where they occurred was visited and the Inquests attended. The scene of the reported non-fatal accidents was visited in nearly every instance.
Complaints, which were few in number, had prompt attention, whatever their
At least one underground inspection has been made at nearly all the Mines in the district; many of the large Mines have been visited underground on several occasions.
The reports on Mines under the Coal Mines Regulation Acts, on Mines under the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Acts, and on Quarries under the Quarries Act, are each divided into five sections, namely:
I. Persons Employed;
II. Output of Mineral;
V. General Remarks,
Four Appendices give (1) List of fatal accidents and fatalities not comprised (2) List of prosecutions; (3) Printed questions put to candidates for managers' certificates; (4) List of plans of abandoned mines deposited during the year.
The above table shows that there has been an increase in the number of persons employed, as compared with the preceding year, amounting to 3,081, made up of 2,505 more employed underground and 576 more employed on the surface. Cumberland employed 91 more, Durham (North) 1,307 more, and Northumberland 1,683 more.
Cumberland is the only county where females are employed on the pit banks cleaning coal, handling tubs, &c. The women shown as employed in the other twocounties are engaged in offices, in granaries, or as charwomen, and not on the pit banks.
This is the fifth year in succession in which a record output of coal has been raised in the district. The increase in output of coal for the past year over the year 1905 amounts to 659,174 tons, and is made up of an increase of 589,512 tons in Northumber-land, an increase of 73,363 tons in Cumberland, but Durham (North) has a slight decrease of 3,701 tons.
The collieries worked steadily during the year, and there were no general disputes. causing idle time.
The Northumberland steam coal collieries, which in normal years usually have some - idle days, owing to the nature of the trade, worked continuously throughout the year, and this is the reason for the large increase of output in that county. The collieries in the Durham portion of the district producing household, gas, coking, and manufacturing coal, have always worked with greater regularity than the collieries in Northumberland, and no great increase of output was possible by working more days. Although more men were employed in Durham, a strike at one large colliery, a stoppage of a fortnight at another while a new winding drum was being erected, and more idle days being taken all over by individual miners, is the cause of the slight decrease in output.
Table (3) shows the output of mineral per person employed.
Table (4) shows the output arranged according to geological position and county.
Table (5) gives particulars as to the use of mechanical coal-cutting machines during the year, and shows that progress in this direction steadily continues.
The Siskol machines in Durham, in use in a seam worked with safety lamps, are actually driven by compressed air, but the air is compressed by an electrical plant placed underground a safe distance from the working face.
The number of fatal accidents in the year under review is seven more than in the year 1905, while the resulting deaths are also seven more.
Of 92 fatal accidents causing 98 deaths, 77 causing 82 deaths happened underground, and 15 causing 16 deaths happened on the surface.
Of the 92 fatal accidents causing 98 deaths, 10 accidents causing 10 deaths occurred in Cumberland, 57 accidents causing 42 deaths occurred in North Durham, and 45 accidents causing 46 deaths occurred in Northumberland.
With the exception of three accidents-one due to overwinding at Boldon Colliery in Durham, causing three deaths; one on the Cramlington Colliery railway in Northumberland, causing two deaths; and an explosion of fire-damp and coal dust at Urpeth Colliery in Durham causing four deaths-the fatal accidents each caused one death only. number of non-fatal accidents reported was 12 more, and the number of persons reported as receiving injury was 33 more.
Both the fatal and non-fatal accidents are summarised in Table (6), and accidents from explosions of fire-damp and coal dust, from falls of mineral, from explosives, and in connection with haulage, both underground and on the surface, are further classified in Tables (7), (8), (9), (10), (11) and (12).
In Appendix I. is a list of the fatal cases with a detailed description of the cause, except in the case of the overwinding accident at Boldon Colliery and the explosion at Urpeth Colliery which are referred to in the body of the report.
SUMMARY OF FATAL and NON-FATAL ACCIDENTS, classified according to PLACE
The death-rate from accidents per 1,000 persons employed during the year 1906 is as follows:—(1) below ground, 106; (2) above ground, 0.83; (3) below and above ground, 1.02.
ACCIDENTS from EXPLOSIONS of FIRE-DAMP or COAL DUST, classified according
The only fatal explosion of fire-damp and coal dust occurred at Urpeth Colliery, in the County of Durham, on 17th December, 1906, resulting in the loss of 4 lives, and was