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Selected tables :
Bureau of Mines, Health and Safety, summary of fund distribution, Page fiscal years 1970–1971.-
709 Chronological listing of PHS accomplishments under Public Law 91-173
784 Coal mines in which spot inspections shall be made pursuant to Sec.
103(i) of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969_- 239 Fatal accidents and causes from 1897 to 1969 (inclusive) in W. Va--- 679 Fatalities-Jan. 1, 1970 to July 31, 1970.-
678 Lost time injuries and accidents by occupation & causes, etc----- 672-675 Mines that have been spot-inspected.
242 Prosecutions and violations, 1969–1970.
676 Recapitulation of mines, production and distribution, summary of reports
677 Schedule for walk-in examinations of personnel seeking mine-inspection jobs and location.
765 Unobligated funds appropriated to the Bureau of Mines for health and safety for fiscal year 1970 as of June 30, 1970..
HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THE COAL MINES
FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1970
Centerville, Pa. The subcommittee met at 9:24 a.m., pursuant to call, in the high school gymnasium, Centerville, Pa., Senator Harrison A. Williams, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senator Williams. Committee staff members present: Gerald M. Feder, associate counsel, Labor Subcommittee; Michael S. Gordon, special' minority counsel; George Lawless, professional staff member, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare; and Richard D. Siegel, 'legislative counsel to Senator Richard S. Schweiker.
Senator WILLIAMS. The subcommittee will proceed with the hearing on the problems of health and safety in the coal mines and operations under the new law that is now effective that was enacted to bring greater safety to the coal mines and to demand better conditions for better health for the coal miner.
We know that this is a matter of the greatest concern to the men who work in the mines, and their concern is our concern, too. The Welfare of the coal miners certainly has proven to be a matter of deep concern to the Congress of the United States when we enacted the law that brings standards designed for better health and safety. It is our job in the Congress to watch on the administration of that law to see how it is going, and that is why we are here: to find out from the men who do the mining just what conditions are like today.
We are fortunate as the committee to have Frank Bishop with us this morning to start us off and to guide us through this morning's hearing discussion with the men that are gathered here today.
Mr. Bishop, we welcome you. STATEMENT OF FRANK BISHOP, SAFETY COMMITTEEMAN, JONES &
LAUGHLIN VESTA NO. 5 MINE, VESTABURG, PA. Mr. BISHOP. Thank you, Senator.
We are glad you people came out to see some of our needs, some of our wants. I have my brothers out here and most of them are members of the safety committee as myself. I am on the safety committee.
Senator WILLIAMS. Wait. Maybe you had better, for our record, just sort of describe yourself, where you work and how long you have been a miner, so we know you a little better.
Mr. Bishop. Well, first, I have been a miner for 31 years. I worked for Jones & Laughlin (J. & L.) Vesta No. 5 Mine. I am a member of the safety committee.
I might say that I am glad that this law was enacted, to make it short, to answer some of the cries and the needs of our people. We know that coal mining is really hazardous. Up until now we have had a few State laws which were not in conjunction with this law here but the act itself now since it has been enacted is the answer to all of our needs and prayers here.
Now our problem right here in the coal fields today is to get the enforcement of these laws. That is the main reason we are here today. Some of our brothers here have a lot of questions—not only questions, they have a lot of answers and a lot to tell about these laws and things.
So if you don't mind, Senator, some of them out there have some problems. Just raise your hand and talk directly to the Senator here. We will try to make it as brief as possible.
Senator WILLIAMS. Well, we want to hear anybody that wants to be heard. Would it not be better if whoever wants to help us came on up here. A couple of fellows can come up at a time.
STATEMENT OF JOHN OZONISH, SAFETY COMMITTEEMAN, GATE
WAY MINE, GATEWAY COAL CO., CLARKSVILLE, PA. Mr. Ozonish. Senator Williams, Mr. Bishop and all interested persons here. I think we have a great
Senator WILLIAMS. Tell us who you are for the record. Mr. Ozonish. I represent the safety committee at our Gateway Mine at Gateway Coal Co. J. & L. has had a safety committee for
My name is John Ozonish. I am here in the interest of all the miners I represent as a safety committeeman.
I have worked in a coal mine since 1930, and I saw a lot since that time. There were bad conditions in 1930. Things were corrected since 1930 but we still have lots of problems in coal mining.
We have new systems coming in, great machines come in, and they produce coal but they produce hazards with it. Dust, for one thing. In our mine we have around 21 miles of belt. We have no cars. We have an all-belt system in our mine and dust problems are hazardous.
I would like for you, Senator Williams, if it would be possible to make a trip to our mine to see the conditions that arise there. We
have a good company to work for, and a good safety committee. When we have problems, they cope with them. But there are still problems in this new mine law here that are going to make our mine a lot safer if we can enforce this new law which came into effect in April. Our company was going ahead and enforcing these new laws that were being presented, they were going right ahead with everything.
Now that this injunction was put against this new law I say in few different manners they weren't going along with it, but we met with the company and they said that they would go right along as provided. We got a good company, but like I say, there are lots of problems in our mine. Gas accumulation, we don't have gas accumulation. We have over 4 million cubic feet of gas delivered at our portals in a 24-hour period. Now that is a dangerous situation but we have got air coming in to dilute this gas and bring it out in return which is being done.
Now I have reports here and maybe you would want to see them from our Federal mine inspector that inspected the mines. We had ignitions up there—flashes, rather, that were taken care of and they were not too serious but they could have been.
Senator WILLIAMS. You call them ignitions or flashes. Is that an explosion ?
Mr. Ozonish. No. A flash is an ignition, and an ignition is where there is gas at the face where the machine ignites this but is put out maybe within seconds. We have water conditions which puts that out.
Senator WILLIAMS. I see.
Mr. OZONISH. As it occurs the water sprays over there to put that out. We have air to dilute the gas as it comes out. I have a report here, Report of Mines—Gas Ignition, Gateway Mine, Clarksville, Pa., on June 9, by Henry Ward, Federal mine inspector. If you would like to go over this, if you want to read it, I can leave it with you.
Senator WILLIAMS. What was the date of that inspection?
Now we had another one occur May 26, 1969. We had two of them occur in a period of 2 weeks.
Senator WILLIAMs. These are reports of ignitions?
Senator WILLIAMS. At this point, without objection, they will be inserted into the 'hearing record.
(The reports referred to follow :)