Fatal Accident At Cadeby – The Danger of Breaking Coal

April 1922

Fatal Accident at Cadeby.


The Danger of Breaking Coal


Coroner and the Need for Special Precautions

The fatal accident in the Cadeby mine last week was the subject of an enquiry by Mr Frank Allen, the Doncaster and District Coroner, at the Denaby Main Hotel, on Friday.

Mr H Hawley, manager of the Cadeby pit, represented the Denaby and Cadeby Colliery Company, Mrs T.A.Gregory, the Yorkshire Minus Association, and Mr Robert Young, H.M.inspector of Mines, also attended.

Mrs Burns, widow of the deceased, said her husband was a filler at Cadeby. He was 27 years of age, and went to work on Wednesday on the afternoon shift. He was in good health.

Henry Price, 31 Clifton Street, a Collier, said he was at work with burns on the day of the accident. The accident happened about 2:45 PM.

He drew the “spraggs,” and had a 6 foot length of coalface. The coal did not drop, but in two seconds, while he was looking round, the coal fell. There was a bar near Burns, who did not need to go and fetch one. He did not touch the coal after he drew the spraggs. WSuddenly, a lump broke off, and knocked out two props. One of these hate the deceased, and he found Burns in a corner, with the warned at the back of the head. The piece which fell weighed about two tons, and came down whole.

Witness had seen similar things happen before. Burns was in a very dangerous position. The piece was what was called “top heavy.” Witness thought it was very important that everybody should sign clear after the “spraggs” were drawn. Witness was still in a fairly safe position, and deceased was near the pass by. At the time witness did not know where the deceased was stood. Witness warned deceased himself that he had drawn the “spraggs.” Diseased must have been counting the matches and must have moved without witness seen him. Deceased was an experience workmen.

Thomas Roberts, 30 Maltby Street, deputy at Cadeby, said he had been round the place. He could see that there was a sign of an end split at one end of the holing, and they were holing up to the split.

There was no break at the other end. This. He had got a good “spragg” up to it. What prevention could be done had been done. He did not see that it was necessary to timber up the coal that had been “holed.” There was a good spragg under.

The coroner: how many inquest. Do you think I have had of cases of coal falling over?

Some scores, I should think.

Answering the inspector, witness said he had examined all the props when he visited the place and found them all properly set.

The coroner: this sort of thing might happen every day.

Witness agreed that it might.

The coroner said it was most important that all precautions should be taken, and in asking the questions he had done, he did not suggest that they were not taken. It seemed to him that if the coal in that particular locality was of such a nature that it was liable to come down, and pieces 6′ x 5′ and weighing two or three tons to break off, extra caution should be taken by the man in charge of the stall to see that everybody was clear before the coal was likely to drop.

It might be that it Burns had stopped when he was when counting the “motties” he would have been in a reasonably safe place, but he did not do so; he moved. Then the coal came down, knocked the prop out, and killed him.

There was no doubt the accidents resulting from the breaking away of coal like that were very frequent indeed, and he thought that stall men ought to be warned to see that very special precautions were taken to see that everybody knew what was going to happen, and that they took up positions of safety.

The Collier was a man in charge, and it was for him to see that anybody was likely to be in danger was removed out of it, and he did not say in that case that that was not done. He may have told Burns what was going to happen, but if he did not do so he ought to have done. The witness said, however, that he did do so. It might be that Burns did not appreciate the risk he was running, and so got killed. It was for the jury to consider whether all was done that could be done to give warning and take precautions.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death” attaching no blame to anyone.

Mr Holley said that, on behalf of the Colliery Company, he wished to express their deep sympathy with Mrs Burns in that sad accident. They regretted it very much as, during the short time he had been with them, diseased had proved himself an experience workmen, and they were very sorry to lose him. They sympathise with Mrs Burns in her sad bereavement.

Mr Gregory associated himself with the remarks of Mr Holley.

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