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ACCIDENTS INSIDE THE QUARRIES.
FALLS OF GROUND. There was no fatal accident caused by falls of ground from beyond a person's own working place, while there were two fatalities due to falls of ground from the person's own working place. The first of these (Reg. No. 155) was caused at the Wepre Hall clay pit, Flintshire, through the falling of about 2 cwt. of clay from a height of 8 feet up the working face. There does not appear to have been any undermining, but the working face was much weathered and vertical. It should have been worked either in galleries or on a slope.
The other fatal accident (Reg. No. 289) happened at the Pantdreiniog slate quarry, Carnarvonshire, where a quarryman, by the swinging of his suspending rope, dislodged a small piece of slate, which fell on to him and inflicted injuries which terminated fatally on the morrow.
A non-fatal accident (Reg. No. 351), causing very serious injuries to two persons, occurred at the Dinorwic quarry. While the men were examining the top of their working place after blasting, the ground gave way under them. and they went down with it to the gallery below. One lost both arms and the other had his skull fractured.
BY BLASTING. In connection with explosives and blasting there were one fatal and 16 non-fatal accidents, causing injuries to 20 persons. These accidents are far too numerous and their number could be reduced by enforcing strict discipline and by exercising reasonable
The fatal accident (Reg. No. 86), happened at the Bryn Euryn limestone quarry, Denbighshire, when one person was killed and another seriously injured by the explosion of gunpowder. The men had fired a charge, and after hearing the report of the explosion they returned to work. It appears that the man who was killed introduced an iron scraper into the hole, when a portion of the charge, which had remained unexploded, went off and killed him. His mate also sustained a fracture of the leg and other serious injuries.
Most of the non-fatal accidents call for remarks. One (Reg. No. 65), appears to have been due to want of proper thawing of a high explosive. While a quarryman was pushing home a cartridge of gelatine dynamite with a wooden stemmer, it exploded and caused the loss of the man's arm. The weather was frosty and the warming pan had been used for thawing the explosive just before using it, but it is doubtful whether all the cartridges were quite plastic.
Reg. No. 123.—A foreman shot-firer lost his arm in consequence of disregarding instructions. He was “springing " a hole and should have used no other explosive than gunpowder, but for some reason known to himself, he also put some gelignite into the hole, and while he was stemming it, the charge exploded.
Reg. No. 160.—One of three holes, which were being “sprung” by electric battery, missed fire. The men in charge, thinking it had gone off
, were preparing the hole for another charge when an explosion occurred, slightly burning one hand of each man. Reg. Nos. 272 and 334. --Men who had “
holes did not allow sufficient time to elapse in order to avoid an accident from fire or heat remaining in the rock before introducing a second charge. While they were so doing the explosive went off. In one case one man, and in the other two, had their faces burnt.
Reg. No. 336.- A quarryman used an iron scraper for pushing gunpowder into a deep shot-hole. The charge exploded. There was no excuse whatever for such conduct as there were proper tools at hand.
Reg. No. 16.—While a quarryman was illegally trying to remove a charge of gunpowder which had missed fire, it exploded. Left hand burnt.
Left hand burnt. The man was prosecuted by the owner.
Two accidents (Reg. Nos. 107 and 294), were caused by stones projected from shots. In the former case a stone was projected from a hole fired with gunpowder, and rebounded into a tunnel where some quarrymen were sheltering. It struck one of them and fractured his thigh bone. In the latter case a stone was projected on to the top of a smithy from a blast when gelignite was the explosive. In both cases the distance from the blast was about 100 yards.
Reg. No. 74.—A quarryman who had never had any experience of high explosives was given some gelignite to use. The explosive was frozen, and as he could not cut it
with his knife. he used a stone to break it up. It naturally exploded and injured his hands. There was no warming-pan for thawing the explosive, and it should not have been put into the hands of an inexperienced person. (See Section IV. Prosecutions,
DURING DESCENT OR ASCENT.
Falling from Paths, Steps, or Ladders (Reg. No. 322).-In making a short cut over a foot-bridge at the Llwyngwern slate quarry, Montgomeryshire, on a frosty day, a quarryman, fell to a distance of 15 yards and was instantly killed. Men should have been forbidden to use the bridge or it should have been made safe to cross.
MISCELLANEOUS. Machinery (Reg. No. 281).—A stone, which was being hoisted up from the Holt Lane sandstone quarry, Lancashire, fell out of the lashing chain at a height of 30 feet from the bottom of the quarry and rebounded about ten yards ; it struck two men who thought they had retired to a safe distance. One was killed on the spot and the other was injured.
Falling from Ledges (Reg. No. 349).- A quarryman who was working with a pick on a ledge, 4 feet wide, at the Howitt Hill sandstone quarry, Lancashire, fell over to the bottom of the quarry, a depth of 65 feet. Had he secured himself with a rope, most likely the accident would not have happened. Though there were ropes at the quarry there was none on this particular ledge within reach of the man.
Of the four non-fatal accidents from this cause, three were due to persons neglecting to use ropes, and in the fourth case the man fell for want of having properly secured himself in the rope.
Sundries.- One hundred and eleven accidents are classed under this heading. They were all of a trivial nature, such as cutting hands or fingers in loading waggons, pieces flying to the eye in breaking stones, stones falling on feet, &c. None call for special remarks.
OUTSIDE THE QUARRIES. By Machinery.—Three accidents were caused by Greaves' slate dressing machines, and six were due to the treadle machines. One man somehow fell on to the circular saw of a slate sawing machine and broke his arm. Another lost his arm by inadvertently putting it against a circular saw for sawing timber. His work for the day was done ; he had put the belt on to the loose pulley, but the saw had not quite stopped, and it is not known how the accident happened. The saw was properly guarded.
On Railways, Sidings, or Tramways.—The two fatal accidents outside the quarries happened on railways or tramways connected therewith.
Reg. No. 44.—A fireman at the Llysfaen limestone quarry, Carnarvonshire, who was standing on a tramway watching a railway train pass, was struck by a loaded waggon going down a slight gradient. He had his leg broken ; pneumonia set in and he died a fortnight later.
Reg. No. 352.-A labourer engaged at the Clock Face clay pit, Lancashire, was run over and killed by empty waggons while walking to his home along the railway. The man was deaf and did not hear the approach of the waggons, and as the night was dark the brakesman did not see him.
ACCIDENTS WITH ELECTRICITY. The only accident with electricity happened at the sub-station of the Dinorwic quarry. The North Wales Power Company had not erected proper screens to protect the hightension part of the building, which was under their control, before switching on the current. The electrical engineer of the Dinorwic quarry, contrary to instructions, entered the building and was invited to do so, contrary to instructions, by the person in charge. He came in contact with the live high tension wires, and had his thighs severely burnt. The North Wales Power Company were most to blame for not erecting the screens, while the two other persons concerned should have obeyed instructions. The screens had been ordered before the accident and were erected immediately after it.
ACCIDENTS AT Docks, WHARVES, QUAYS, &c. All the docks, &c., under my jurisdiction are connec!ed with quarries. Six accidents were reported from them during the year, and they are included in the Summary of
Accidents on pages 32 and 33. Three of these consisted of cuts on hands in loading slates ; one man slipped on a rail ; another hurt his foot on a tramway. The only accident peculiar to docks, &c., happened at the Moel-y-gest quay, Portmadoc, when a barrow slipped off the end of a gang-way, and caused the man wheeling it to fall to the hold of a ship.
PROSECUTIONS. Under the Quarries Act, 1894, eleven prosecutions of owners and agents were instituted on your direction, and there were four prosecutions under the Factory and Workshop Act.
The owners of the Howitt Hill quarry, in spite of more than one reminder, failed to send me an Annual Return of the persons employed and of the mineral raised for the year ending 31st December, 1905. For this and for two other offences they were prosecuted and fined.
The owners and agent of the Criggion quarry were proceeded against for several offences, of which complaints had been previously made to them ; three convictions were secured and the remaining cases were withdrawn on payment of costs. The owners and agent of the Llysfaen and Pentregwyddel quarry were convicted and fined for failing to provide a warming pan for thawing explosives, in consequence of which a person was injured ; and the owners of the Vron slate quarry were punished for failing to have a steam boiler examined and for neglecting to have a report of the examination of another boiler.
Two quarrymen were prosecuted by the owners for unramming charges of gunpowder which had missed fire.
A list containing particulars of the prosecutions is given in Appendix II., page 51.
Docks, Wharves and Quays. As mentioned on the previous page, all the Docks, Wharves and Quays under my jurisdiction, of which there were 15 in use last year, are connected with Quarries. Fourteen of these are in Carnarvonshire, and one in Denbighshire. Six of them are for the purpose of storing and loading limestone, eight for igneous rock (setts, macadam, &c.), and two for storing and loading slates. As they are generally in close proximity to the quarries the persons employed at them are included in Table 19. To this there are two important exceptions, viz., the “Ports” of Dinorwic and Penrhyn quarries, respectively, both of which are several miles distant from the quarries, and are connected with them by private railways. In each case there were 14 persons employed on the railway, and in the case of the former there were 117 employed at the Docks, and in the latter case there were 102 persons so employed. (These persons are not included in Table 19.)
All the Docks, &c. were visited during the year ; most of them several times. The majority of the complaints were made under Part I for want of fencing breaks and dangerous corners, also for want of providing a supply of life-saving appliances, and the matters complained of were generally attended to without delay.
Electricity at Quarries.—During the year two slate quarries, viz., Dinorwic and Penyrorsedd have been connected with the North Wales Power and Traction Company, Limited. The former is six miles from the generating house (vide page 28), and has up to the present had a plant of 250 H.P. installed for driving a slate mill and for lighting purposes. Penyrorsedd, which is 13.4 miles distant is supplied up to the present with 750 H.P., and as in the case of the Oã keley slate mine, steam power is superseded except in the case of locomotives, and the use of electricity is likely to prove of a great advantage to the working of the quarry.
Explosives.—It will be seen from Section III in the case of Metalliferous Mines and of Quarries that accidents with explosives have been numerous. This is not to be wondered at when men altogether ignorant of the way of handling explosives are allowed
Fig. 1.-PRECIPITATION Pit, MOSA AND PARYS MINE, ANGLESEY. From a Photograph by Mr. G. J. Hilliams,