Excerpt from The South African Mining Journal, Vol. 26: With Which Is Incorporated the South African Mines, Commerce and Industries; Part 2; June 2, 1917
One obvious remedy is to make labourers pay for lost materials.
Some mines do this, and with marked air and water hose it can be managed successfully; but generally it merely makes things worse, as the careful and honest miner has to pay for the neglect of the opposite type, who takes care to steal from others what he has destroyed. It is impossible to build a tool box underground that cannot be broken open. If a man takes the trouble to get together a good set of tools, he has to take them to the surface to keep them. The underground manager has to provide just twice as many such tools as are really necessary or find the work delayed all round. Timbermen, platelayers, pipe fitters, etc., unless provided with the very strongest storerooms, come down to find that all the tools necessary for a day's work have vanished.. These troubles are more apparent when working double shift as the offender is harder. To discover; but they occur under all conditions. Air hose is seldom drawn far enough away from blasting, and men have constantly to be dismissed for totally destroying it in this way, while water hose and jets last only half as long as they should. Miners, as a rule, take little interest in the dust question. Water blasts, produced by connecting air and water pipes and turning on air and water after blasting, are a blessing in any mine, as they lay the dust and smoke, cool the air and absorb nzo and CO Their one fault is that they may lead to the flooding of winzes, air pumps and winches. This, however, can be prevented by placing a non-return value of good design in the air pipe on the side toward the shaft. Mining regulations compel managers to instal these valves in all development faces and require men to examine them before blasting, and to use them. Yet there are mines on the Rand today in which the miners persistently neglect to use them. Water provided for water blasts should be free from fine floating dust and should be maintained in the pipes at a pressure greater than that of the air. The quantity of water entering a 2-in, air pipe should be limited by ih serting a g-ih. Or 3 - 16-in. Plug in the water pine behind the cock connecting it with the air pipe. As an additional precaution against ﬂooding of working places between blasting time and the next shift, an arrangement should be made to turn all water out of the pipe system 15 or 20 'minutes after blasting. If a water pipe be taken down a long flat winze, as on the East Rand, it is a favourite trick of the native to turn it on to get a drink and leave it turned on until it ﬂoods his wmze.
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