Unusual Pithead Mishap – Denaby Man Trapped by Steel Door

September 1940

Mexborough & Swinton Times, September 28

Head Jammed

Denaby Man Trapped by Steel Door

Unusual Pithead Mishap

An unusual colliery accident was investigated by the Doncaster District Coroner (Mr. W. H. Carlile), at the inquest at Conisborough on Monday on Edmund Frost (37), haulage motor attendant, 46, Braithwell Street, Denaby, who died from a fractured base of the skull received at Cadeby Main colliery on Saturday.

Frost´s head was caught by a revolving steel door near the shaft as he was leaving the pit, and the Coroner (Mr. W. H. Carlile), returning a verdict of “Accidental Death”, stated that the place appeared to have been as safe as one could reasonably expect. Apparently it had been in operation for a long period of years without any fatal accident occurring and he had no doubt that if anything could be done to improve the door it would be done.

Expressions of sympathy with the relatives were voiced by Messrs. David Cowburn, agent and manager of the colliery, and J. Madin, secretary of the Cadeby Y.M.A. branch, and in reply, Mr. J. Halford, under manager of the pit and a near relative of Frost, thanked the workmen nearby for their assistance especially Thomas Sturdy.

The widow, Annie Frost, giving evidence of identification, said that her husband left home at 5 a.m. on Saturday to go to his work. He was then in good health. His left eye was slightly defective, but his right eye was normal.

Robert Shakeshaft, haulage hand, 40, Annerley Street, Denaby, said that on Saturday he left the cage after the shift had finished at about 12.10, and went towards the revolving door, which was about 10 yards away from the shaft. Another man, Wesley, was with him and Frost was about a yard in front of them, also making towards the revolving door, which was hand propelled.

Witness was on the point of following Frost into the next compartment of the door when he seemed to stumble. His head leant forward and the door came into contact with his head and he reeled back. Witness caught his left arm, and owing to the fact that blood was coming from his right ear he called for the ambulance.

Shakeshaft told the Coroner that all the men coming off the shift went through the revolving door, which was about 5ft 6 ins. High, and each compartment about a yard wide. There was no rush of men going through the door on Saturday.

The Coroner: Did you think his foot caught something or did he slip

Shakeshaft: He slipped. He was wearing pit boots. The surface of the floor felt slippery, it was generally slippery.

Tried to Withdraw

Shakeshaft added that when Frost saw that he could not get through the door he tried to withdraw himself. He had worked with Frost during the shift and he was perfectly all right, he made no complaint about feeling ill. The door was revolving at a normal pace and there was ample time for a man to get into a compartment.

Frost, witness replied to the Coroner, knew the door.

Arthur Ernest Wesley, haulage hand, Edlington Street, Denaby, stated that he did not see Frost slip. He seemed to hesitate when he was about half a yard from the door. The compartment seemed to jam his head against the side and the compartment came back as a result of the impact. Shakeshaft pulled him out. Frost had no sooner hesitated than they heard him shout.

The light was good at the place and Frost was well able to see the door. There was a level, smooth floor at the spot, worn smooth by pit boots. On the smooth surface one could easily slip.

Mr. Cowburn, giving evidence, stated that he had made an inspection of the place, which was well lighted. Owing to the black-out it might be darker that it used to be, but there was a great deal of light in the place. The object of the door was to hold the air against the fan. The door, which had four compartments, was just like an hotel door only it was made of steel. The floor leading to the door comprised steel plates, the plate nearest the door being ribbed.

The Coroner: With hundreds of men going out the floor does wear smooth?

Mr. Cowburn: Oh yes. We have to change it from time to time.

The coroner: Is there any history of men falling there? – We have an occasional case of accident.

Mr. Cowburn declared that in his opinion the remedy did not lie in plates, but in the door, with the object of making it rotate as a slower speed. Millions of men had gone through without such an occurrence happening.

Mr. Madin stated that he had worked at the pit for 32 years, and this was the first fatal accident at the door.

Dr. David T. Clark of Denaby, said that Frost was blind in the left eye.












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