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Acetylene Lamps. It is of the utmost importance for avoiding accidents underground, and also for increasing the capacity of the workmen that the working places should be well illuminated, and that the officials whose duty it is to visit and examine the working places should have a brilliant light. Attention has been called in previous Reports to the use of acetylene gas for lighting purposes. The objections raised to this illuminant were the disagreeable smell and the liability of the gas to escape and cause an explosion. The Wolf Safety Lamp Company, Leeds, have brought out lamps which appear to have overcome these objections, and they are supplied both as hand lamps and stationary lamps. The carbide vessel is pressed out of one sheet of double tinned steel or brass, and contains no joints. The lamps are made in such a way that the unconsumed gas cannot escape. The lighting power of the handlamp is 10 or 12 times that of an oil lamp and the cost is only fod. per hour. These lamps can be used open or fitted with a bonnet for use when they are exposed to strong currents, and these or similar lamps are supplied with special hooks for hanging up. The stationary lamps are of 50 candle-power.
Acetylene light is largely used in some foreign countries, but in our own country, and especially in North Wales, it has not received the attention it deserves. The Oakeley Company, who were the pioneers in the use of acetylene gas in the mines of North Wales, have some of the Wolf lamps in use, and are well pleased with them. Acetylene lamps, in addition to giving a cheap and brilliant light, are simple and easy to clean, and I think mine owners would greatly benefit by making larger use of them.
On comparing the number employed at quarries in 1906 with that in 1905, it will be seen that there was a slight decrease, viz. 319, and that this decrease is not confined to one or two counties, but that every county has suffered more or less from the depression.
Though the number of persons employed during the year showed a slight decrease, there was an increase of 30,411 tons in the output of minerals, which totalled 3,053,810 tons. On the other hand, the value, which amounted to £1,135,066, was less by £71,701 than in 1905.
From Table 21 it will be seen that the output of clay, ganister, gravel and sand, igneous rocks and limestone show an improvement, while there was a decrease in the output of chert, sandstone and slate. A small quantity of iron ore got by open quarrying appears in this Table for the first time. As regards value, chert, gravel and sand, igneous rocks, sandstone and slate, show a decrease. In the case of the last mineral named, though the output was only 3,630 tons less than in 1905, the value given is less by £63,155, and what was stated of slate mines on page 22 is unfortunately equally true of slate quarries.
ACCIDENTS. The number of fatal accidents at quarries during 1906 was eight. This is by far the lowest number in any year since the Quarries Act, 1894, came into operation. Six fatalities happened inside the quarries and two outside. Two occurred at clay pits, two at limestone quarries, two at sandstone quarries, and two at slate quarries.
A list of all the fatal accidents with particulars is given in Appendix I, page 48.
TABLE 22. SUMMARY of Fatal and NoN-FATAL ACCIDENTS, classified according to PLACE
The death-rate from accidents per 1,000 persons employed was as follows :-Inside the quarries, 0·79 ; outside the quarries, 0:30 ; and inside and outside, 0·56.
TABLE 23. Accidents with ExPLOSIVES, classified according to the NATURE of the ExploSIVE.
* One mixed charge of Gelignite and Gunpowder.