Miner Fatally Injured Making Roof Safe – “No Negligence”

February 1947

South Yorkshire Times, February 22, 1947

“No Negligence” – Coroner
Denaby Miner Fatally Injured While Making Roof Safe

“These two men took proper steps to try to safeguard themselves, but unfortunately before that work was completed the stone fell from between two props they had set, pinning Sarsby to the ground. It seems to me there was no negligence on the part of anyone. The men were doing their best, but unfortunately this man was trapped.” The Doncaster district coroner thus summed up an accident at Denaby Main Colliery on Wednesday, January 29, at an inquest at the Fullerton Hospital, Denaby, on Saturday, on Oscar William Sarsby (36), Collier, of 96, Park Road, Conisbrough, who died in the Fullerton Hospital last Thursday.

Rescuers Commended.

Mr E. Collins represented the Denaby main branch of the National Union of Mineworkers, Mr A. S. Lawrence represented the Denaby branch of the Yorkshire Deputies Association, and Mr J. Halford (manager), Mr H. W. Don (representing the National Coal Board) and Mr M. J. Davies (His Majesty’s Inspector of mines) were also present.

At the end of the inquest they expressed sympathy with the window, and Mr Duncan and Mr Collins paid tribute to the other workmen for their rescue efforts.

Harold Oakley, Collier 22 Adwick St, Denaby, said on January 29 he was working in 202’s conveyor face in the Parkgate seam with Sorsby. Before commencing work they examined the working place and found two breaks running parallel over the face.

He started to clean the face up and then set to temporary props, and intended to set bars when the ground was cleared. About 7 a.m. a fall of stone from the roof pinned Sarsby. It was 7’6” long 3 feet wide and 10 inches thick, tapering to nothing and 20 inches thick, tapering to nothing, and it ruled out the two props they had set. It took about 20 minutes to get Sarsby out. He was conscious all the time. The deputy had not been round before this happened. In reply to the coroner, he said they were not told of the condition of the roof before going in, and there was no warning of the fall.

In reply to Mr Davies witness said these were not open breaks, but rather in the nature of cracks. The breaks were converging.

Welcome Walter Clark 36, Carlisle Street, Mexborough, deputy on the night shift said he examined 202’s convey a face at 5 a.m. There were no visible breaks in the roof.

The Coroner: You say there were no signs of rates at 6 AM and yet these men coming on at 7 AM found two breaks converging. That is rather quick for them to form, is it not?

Witness: it may be.

The Coroner: Of what nature is the roof?

Witness: It is conglomarate material.

The coroner: is that considered a good roof?

Witness: No.

Witness said the roof was supported by steel props and bars, and added that five foot bars were set, but eight-foot bars were available if required. If he had considered they were required he would have set them.

He agreed with Mr Davies that loose coal in the roof could have rolled over the face and revealed the breaks which had been seen later.

Stone On Legs.

Reginald William Wakr, 28, Denaby Avenue, Conanby, deputy on the morning shift, said the night deputy reported all was in order when he took over and witnessing then commenced his inspection. As he was working his way to 202’s conveyor face he noticed the belt was standing. On arrival there he found there had been a fall and the men were releasing Sarsby. The stone had fallen across his legs. Witness examine the roof and noticed the two breaks, which were about two feet apart, converging towards the face.

The Coroner: You have heard evidence of the men finding breaks and setting two props. Was that a proper precaution?

Witness: Yes, but I should say a bar would have been better than a prop.

In reply to Mr Davies, he agreed it was a treacherous portion of roof. He also agreed that the coal would have to be moved before a bar could be set.

Dr J. MacArthur, of Denaby, said he saw Sarsby in the ambulance room after the mishap. On examination he found a fracture of the skull, compound fracture of both bones of the right leg, fracture dislocation of the right knee, fracture of the right femur. Witness later attended him in hospital, and he died on Thursday, January 30. The cause of death was shot due to multiple injuries.