Date of the Accident – 29.6.1935
Owner – Anderson Wright & Co.
Number of persons killed – 19
Place – Jharia Coalfield
A total of 108 persons had entered the mine during the afternoon shift. At about 7 p.m. Chitoo Mia, one of the overmen, suspected that things were not as they should be and he ordered withdrawal of the men. Thereafter he proceeded to another area to withdraw the workmen employed there. By 8.30 p.m., 103 persons, including the other two overmen, had come out of the mine. There is no clear evidence as to what Chitoo Mia had suspected as he, along with the 4 remaining workers, died in the underground working.
At about 8.50 p.m. when the Assistant Manager and a day-shift overman had entered the incline-cutting to go down the mine, a violent explosion took place and a great volume of flame, dust and pieces of coal were projected out of the inclines with great force. A total of 21 persons on the surface, including the Assistant Manager and the Overman, some men who were following them and some others who were sitting outside the inclines, were burnt or injured. 14 of them died later.
No inflammable gas had ever been detected in the workings of the mine. All the workmen used naked lights. On the day of the accident it had been raining heavily and a retaining wall protecting the mine from a large tank and a ‘nallah’ had collapsed shortly before the explosion. A large quantity of water suddenly entered into the upper seams which were on fire. The water generated gases and produced a reversal of the air in the mine which gradually filled the workings with an inflammable mixture of gases. The mixture was ignited either by the fire in the upper seams or the naked lights of the five persons who were entombed in the mine. The explosion was predominantly of inflammable gases but might have been augmented by coal dust.
The Court of Inquiry made the following recommendations:-
- The Government should appoint, as soon as possible, a representative committee to enquire fully into the dangers arising from underground fires in coal mines and to report on the steps that should be taken to combat these dangers.
- Regulations should be framed requiring:-
- Managements of all coal mines to take adequate steps to prevent air passing through a goaf or area in which there is a fire.
- The provision of a mechanical ventilator in mines in which there is a fire.
- The sending of a notice to the Inspector of Mines and the District Magistrate when an influx of noxious gases occurs in a mine.
- The use of safety lamps in districts of a mine in which there is a fire.
- The precautions to be taken with respect to the danger of coal dust in mines in which there is an underground fire.
- Restrictions on working of a seam below an area in an upper seam which is on fire so that the strata between the seams shall be maintained unbroken.
- The existing regulations should be amended to require inspection of fire stoppings and parts of the mine in which there is a fire, to be made with safety lamps and means of detecting CO.
As a result of this accident, emergency safety regulations were framed which covered almost all the above recommendations.