Page images


Fatal accidents in coal mining, by Frederick L. Hoffman:

Page. Introduction.....

437-446 The fatal-accident rate.

446-452 The causes of fatal accidents..

453–462 Falls of coal or roof..

455-457 Mine cars....

457 Explosions..

457, 458 Miscellaneous mine accidents

458, 459 Principal causes of fatal accidents, by coal fields

459-462 The fatal-accident rate due to principal causes.

462-481 Falls of coal or roof..

463-465 Shaft accidents.

465, 466 Mine cars..

466 Outside cars.

467 Motors....

467, 468 Explosions of gas or dust.

468-474 Explosions of powder or dynamite..

474-476 Asphyxiation.

476 Mining machinery

476, 477 Mules..

477 Electrocution..

477-480 Miscellaneous mine accidents..

480, 481 Statistical analysis of 2,660 fatal mine accidents in the United States during 1908....

481-486 Descriptive analysis of fatal accidents in Illinois, 1904 to 1908..

486-557 Statistical analysis of fatal accidents in West Virginia, 1899 to 1908. 557-577 The fatal-accident rate in Pennsylvania, by occupations..

577-609 An estimate of the total loss of life in coal mines of North America. 609, 610 The use of explosives in mines ..

610-612 Chronological account of the principal mine disasters in North America.. 612-614 Summary..

615-622 Appendix (29 tables).

623-671 Bibliography....

671-674 Recent action relating to employers' liability and workmen's compensation, by Lindley D. Clark, A. M., LL. M.: Nature and liability and compensation systems...

675, 676 Federal employers' liability law..

676, 677 Statutes providing insurance.

677, 678 Statutes providing for compensation.

678-680 Proposed federal legislation...

680 United States Workmen's Compensation Commission..

680–683 Attitude of state legislatures toward the compensation system.

683-688 Massachusetts.

684, 685 Illinois...

685, 686 Connecticut.

686 Wisconsin...

686 Minnesota and New York.

687 New Jersey and Ohio..

687, 688 Conferences of commissions.

688 Minnesota bill.

689, 690 Wisconsin bill..

690-692 New York statutes.

693 Report of New York commission

693 698 Economic reasons for a compensation system

693-697 Attitude of employers and employees..

697 Conclusions of the New York commission.

697, 698

Recent action relating to employers' liability and workmen's compensation, by Page.
Lindley D. Clark, A. M., LL. M.-Concluded.
Action by employers and association of employers and of workmen...... 698–702
United States Steel Corporation....

699 International Harvester Company.

699, 700 National associations of employers.

700, 701 National Civic Federation...

701 American Federation of Labor..

701, 702 Legal principles involved..

702-707 Statutes...

707-714 Essential features of a compensation law; Chicago conference of November, 1910.....

715-717 Summary of foreign workmen's compensation acts.

719-748 Cost of employers' liability and workmen's compensation insurance, by Miles M. Dawson

7494831 Austria.

752-759 Belgium.

760 Denmark.

760-765 Finland..

765-768 France.

769_773 Germany.

774-783 Great Britain..

784-792 Italy...

792-794 Netherlands.

794-797 Norway.

797-801 Sweden.

802-809 Switzerland.

810-815 Canada....

815-818 New York...

819-823 United States.

824-831 Decisions of courts affecting labor: Decisions under statute law..

832-855 Employer and employee-interference with relation-enticementconstruction of statute (Abingdon Mills Co. v. Grogan).

832, 833 Employers' liabilty--actions for injuries causing death-rights of alien beneficiaries (Cetofonte v. Camden Coke Co.)...

833, 834 Employers' liability-contracts between Pullman company and rail

way company-waiver of employee's rights (San Antonio and Aransas
Pass Ry. Co. v. Tracy)....

835 Employers' liability-fellow-servant law-common carriers--consti

tutionality of statute (Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Ry. Co. v.

836, 837 Employers' liability-inspection of factories-violations of statutes defenses-construction (Caspar v. Lewin)...

837-848 Emplovers' liability-railroad companies-hazards-construction of

stitute-constitutionality-classification (Louisville and Nashville
R. R. Co. v. Melton)....

818-852 Employers' liability--railroad companies-hazards-repair work

constitutionality of statute (Swoboda v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.), 852-854 Laundries--registration--police regulations-constitutionality (District of Columbia v. Shong Lee)....

854 Payment of wages-semimonthly pay day for railroad employees

constitutionality of statute (New York Central and Hudson River
R. R. Co. v. Williams).

854, 855 Decisions under common law.

855-866 Blacklisting-conspiracy--evidence (Rhodes v. Granby Cotton Mills). 855-857 Employer and employee-interference with relation-conspiracy to

destroy trade (Globe and Rutgers Fire Insurance Co. v. Firemen's
Fund Fire Insurance Co.)..

Employers' liability-fellow-servants--association theory (Louisville
Ry. Co. v. Ilibbilt).

859-861 Employers' liability--safe place- low bridge over railroad track

rules-defenses (West v. Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Ry. Co.).. 861-863 Interference with contract of employment-procuring discharge

damages (Ruddy v. United Association of Journeymen Plumbers, etc.,
Local Vo. 24)..

864, 865 Labor organizations-closed-shop. agreements-legality (Kissam v.

United States Printing Co. of Ohio et al., Mills et al. v. Same)..... 865, 866

[blocks in formation]

The actual dangers of coal mining have been quite fully within the understanding of mankind from the very beginning of the industry, but the accurate determination of the relative degree of occupational risk demands careful inquiry and the scientific analysis of the statistical and related facts. Explosions, causing the death of many underground employees at one time, attract world-wide attention, but they tend to emphasize only a single important aspect of the whole subject of mining casualties, the exceptional risk in gaseous mines, overshadowing by contrast the normal and considerable occupational risk inherent in all underground work. The measure of the risk to mine workers inherent or casually incidental to coal mining, is determined, as a rule and with the least chance of serious error, upon the basis of the number of men at work, but under certain conditions the relative amount of coal mined will indicate the risk exposure with at least approximate accuracy. The ratio determined by this method is limited, however, in usefulness to comparisons with mine experience in other coal fields and other coal-producing countries. In either case special caution is necessary in the use of all rates and ratios, because of the inherent variableness in mining operations, which arises out of essentially different methods of mining, shorter or longer hours of labor, strikes and other disturbances, curtailed production or idle times, and, finally, fundamental differences in the age, race, nativity, and occupation distribution of the mining population.

Without entering upon an extended discussion of the chance of error in the use of these statistical factors, which affect the accuracy of all rates and ratios measuring the personal risk in mining, it may be said that they are not sufficient, as a rule, to invalidate general conclusions based upon large mining areas or periods of sufficient length. Errors and inaccuracies in statistical inquiries of this kind tend to equalize themselves, although there remains the need of great caution at all times in the advancing of conclusions or inferences from more or less insufficient statistical material. For this reason a minute analysis of the available information seems neither called for nor advisable, and the present inquiry is therefore limited to a presentation of facts and conclusions which may safely be accepted as approximately correct.

This article, in its essentials, is limited to the decade ending with 1908, except in the case of supplementary tables and the returns for a few States, for which the annual reports are for other than calendar years. The information in practically all cases is derived from the official reports of state mine inspectors, amplified by correspondence and occasional references to the reports of the United States Geological Survey on“ Coal Production,” for recent years. This article, for reasons of statistical accuracy, is limited to fatal accidents, since the official returns of nonfatal injuries are of extremely doubtful value. The data do not in all cases, and rarely in the totals, correspond to the annual tabulations of coal-mining accidents by the United States Geological Survey in the case of States making returns for other than calendar years. The differences, or discrepancies, are, however, not of material importance for the present purpose.

Heretofore no complete analysis has ever been made of coal-mining casualties in the United States, with a full consideration of all the essential elements of the industry, and the present inquiry is only a first, and not wholly satisfactory, attempt to present the fundamental facts in the form of a connected summary, suggestive of further investigation into matters of detail. The magnitude of the undertaking will be appreciated when it is stated that no two mining States make statistical reports exactly alike and that there are often material discrepancies in the official returns of the same States for different years. It will also be found that the reports for different mining districts vary in accuracy and completeness and that the totals are often not in conformity with the published summary for the year. It is obvious that under these circumstances no entirely accurate or complete analysis is possible, but an attempt is made here to present all the essential aspects of the fatal-accident problem in the light of the most conclusive data at present obtainable.

In 1908, according to the returns of the United States Geological Survey, the number of men employed in coal mining was 690,438, against 680,492 in 1907. Of the number at work in 1908, 516,264, or 74.8 per cent, were employed in bituminous mining and 174,174 in

the mining of anthracite coal. (*) The number employed in lignite, shale, and semibituminous or semianthracite coal mining is not accurately known. In 1907 the miners worked on an average 231 days, against only 195 days in 1908. There was, therefore, an addition of 36 days' risk exposure in 1907 compared with 1908. Differences of this kind can not be allowed for in the present state of our statistical knowledge. If it were possible to obtain for coal mining, as well as for all other dangerous industries, trustworthy returns of the aggregate number of days' labor paid for, it would be possible to reduce the same to a standard working year of 300 days of 10 hours each, for example, in the same manner as is now done by German employers' insurance institutions and by some of the employers' liability insurance companies. If, however, this method of calculation of risk exposure were employed in coal mining alone, there are no corresponding data for other industries, such as railways, navigation, iron and steel manufactures, etc. For the present purpose, therefore, the time factor must be ignored. For reasons of statistical accuracy this, of course, is a matter of regret, for, obviously, an exposure to risk during only 200 days a year may result in an actual casualty occurrence by probably one-third less than when the exposure is 300 days or more, and the difference must be approximately proportionate to the amount of employment of variable length. For these reasons mining engineers and supervising officials prefer to calculate or determine the personal risk factor in mining upon the basis of the annual production, and the differential result of the two methods is set forth in the following comparison, derived from the report of the United States Geological Survey for 1908.


(Compiled from Mineral Resources of the United States, 1908, Part II, p. 55.]

[blocks in formation]

The foregoing comparison brings out clearly the conflicting results of different methods of ascertaining the accident liability in mines. It is apparent that wide variations in the number of days worked per annum must affect the accident rate more or less in proportion

& Mineral Resources of the United States, 1908, Pt. II, p. 39. U. S. Geological Surrey, Washington, 1909.

« PreviousContinue »