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Mr. Finch. Yes; that originated in South Africa.
Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. I really think that information was available and generally known in the time of King Tut.
Mr. GRISWOLD. In the early part of your statement you said, as I remember, that the Bureau of Mines had recommended wetting in these dust cases.
Mr. FINCH. Yes.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Just what authority has the Bureau of Mines to enforce its recommendations?
Mr. FINCH. Its organic act does not enable the Bureau of Mines to enforce anything; but we have had in more than 90 percent of the cases involved free access to mines for study of these conditions, and our recommendations have generally been accepted and followed.
Mr. GRISWOLD. But if some particular mine or other operation wilfully saw fit to disobey your recommendations, there was nothing in law by which you could enforce those recommendations?
Mr. Finch. No. It is purely an educational process. We try to give the matter all the publicity we can.
Mr. GRISWOLD. No matter how essential the Bureau of Mines might find certain operations in mining or how essential it might find certain things to protect the health, there is no way the Bureau could enforce its recommendation along that line?
Mr. FINCH. No; but we can induce them to do it.
Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. As I remember, the agency of which you are director goes before legislative bodies and asks them to pass beneficial acts to aid employees in mines. When I was a member of the Legislature of Pennsylvania I was on the committee of mines and mining and we had representatives of the Bureau of Mines appear before us and ask us to enact certain beneficial legislation. I thought that was really a very fine spirit manifested.
Mr. Finch. As a general rule we do not take hand in initiating legislation.
Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. I do not mean that they told us what we should do. They simply came before us and explained to us the value and merit of some proposed legislation.
Mr. Finch. The method under which we have operated during the last 20 years works very well. On the whole, as we think, it would be better not to have that method disturbed. We are constantly trying to educate the mining industry up to these safety procedures and methods.
Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. The question is whether you are doing it fast enough for the benefit of mankind.
Mr. Finch. We are not doing it so fast as we would like to do it.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Your material is available for the use of all engineering publications, is it not?
Mr. FINCH. Yes.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. And it is available to the large and the small contractors who do mining work and work in tunnels?
Mr. FINCH. Yes; it is.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Will you explain briefly just how widespread is the method employed in circulating information, especially concerning respirators? Do you issue bulletins ?
Mr. Finch. Yes; and those are sent to a large mailing list.
Mr. YANT. We have several publications concerning respirators. First we point out what one of those can do; how it operates, and so forth. We tell the requirements that are necessary to make a respirator a good one. We have provisions whereby manufacturers of respirators can submit their products to us and we will test them; and, if they meet our approval, we will allow the manufacturer to use our stamp of approval in the sale of his product. Again, we put out lists of respirators that meet our approval. We give the name, the type, and the name of the manufacturer, so that those who are interested in a good respirator will know where to go. Moreover, our publications go to more than 600 libraries; we supply them to all manufacturers. We send them to all State departments interested in the subject of mining.
We go through our files and look up everybody who has asked about a respirator, and when we get out a new publication of that kind we send a copy of it to everybody who has made inquiry about a respirator.
When anybody of our organization makes a talk before a technical society or an annual meeting of an engineering society, he takes an armload of our publications, and they are passed out to those interested, at the door.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Would your files reveal whether or not the firm of Rinehart & Dennis, the tunnel contractors, or any subsidiary of the Union Carbide & Carbon Co., ever requested information concerning respirators and other safety devices?
Mr. YANT. It is unlikely that our files would show that. I have not looked up that particular point, but I do not recall any such inquiry.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. I do not know for sure, but I am willing to gamble that they did not ask for that information.
Mr. YANT. Many respirators will do some good. There are now eight that passed our requirements. We think they are all that is necessary-our requirements, I mean.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. There were respirators as far back as 1926, and they were good and generally known in the mining industry; is not that true?
Mr. YANT. Yes. One may leave to the manufacturers the finding of a source of consumption and sale of these respirators.
Mr. GRISWOLD. I would suggest that the witness proceed with his statement, as the committee has only a few minutes left before it must adjourn.
PRESENT WORK OF THE BUREAU OF MINES
Mr. FINCH. At present the Bureau is concentrating its dust studies along three lines: (1) Development of better methods of sampling dust in air;. (2) improvement of laboratory technique, particularly in examination of extremely fine particles and in the study of composition of dust; and (3) survey of conditions in operating mines.
Most dust sampling today is done by the impinger method. While more accurate than the devices previously used, the apparatus is large in size and awkward to handle underground and usable only by trained technicians. Therefore, the bureau is developing a simpler, more compact device that can be used by nontechnical persons.
The finer the size of the dust, the more difficult it is to identify and measure in the laboratory, yet it is the very fine particles that are believed to be the most dangerous. Therefore, the adaptability to this problem of the newer physical and chemical procedures that have been found useful in other fields is being investigated. Microchemical, petrographic, and spectrographic methods, X-rays, fluorescence, and electrometric procedures are being applied.
A knowledge of the dust conditions in mines and the correlation of these results with the mining methods employed leads to the introduction of those practices producing the leastt dust. Such surveys, begun by the Bureau in 1914, are being continued.
FUTURE PROGRAM OF THE BUREAU OF MINES
The Bureau has detailed plans for a comprehensive dust investigation along the following four major lines:
1. Development of a more satisfactory device for the sampling of atmospheric dusts and improvement of laboratory procedures for determining composition, particle size, and concentration of dusts in air.
2. In cooperation with the Public Health Service, determination of the physiological effect of air-borne dusts (a) in relation to their composition, size-distribution, and concentration and (6) in relation to time of exposure and working conditions.
3. Survey of the dust conditions to which workers were exposed in the various mineral industries and, with the aid of the Public Health Service, determination of the effect of these conditions upon the workers exposed thereto.
4. Study of methods for control of dust formation, for removing or allaying dust suspensions in air, and for the protection of workers.
VALUE OF PROPOSED WORK TO INDUSTRY
In recent years workmen have become conscious of the dust hazard and are demanding protection and better working conditions. Many employers would be glad to comply with these demands, but in the large majority of cases they do not know what they must protect against or how to effect the changes. The tremendous increase in damage suits has been reflected in insurance rates. These are rapidly becoming prohibitive in certain mining areas. This situation has crated an urgent demand by both employers and employees for more accurate methods for determining the dustiness of atmospheres, for reliable information on the physiological effects of different dusts, for knowledge on how this effect varies with size and concentration of the dust, for development of methods for dust protection, prevention, control, and protection of workmen.
The Bureau of Mines is the logical agency to undertake a comprehensive investigation of this kind with respect to conditions in the mineral industries, owing to its knowledge of the technics and engineering aspects of tunneling, blasting, handlig, crushing, griding, and processing of harmful dust-producing rocks and minerals. It has also been a pioneer in industrial hygiene and occupationaldisease prevention.
At its Pittsburgh Experiment Station the Bureau of Mines has excellent apparatus, quarters, and scientific staff for research on all phases of dust problems. In addition to the facilities at the Pittsburgh Experiment Station, the Bureau of Mines has a Nation-wide organization of mining, metallurgical, and safety engineers who have an intimate knowledge of conditions in the mineral industries and who are in position to make immediate practical use of the findings of the research staff.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Mr. Finch, the committee does appreciate your coming before it; and we should like to have you arrange to send Mr. Yant here again. An important matter is coming up on the floor of the House now, and, therefore, we are compelled to adjourn.
Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. Mr. Finch, I am very glad that you said something nice about Pittsburgh. The Bureau of Mines there is, I am told, the outstanding organization of its kind in the United States.
Mr. FINCH. Yes.
Mr. RANDOLPH. You, Mr. Dunn, have no trouble there. This trouble is in West Virginia.
Mr. Finch, you have direct contact with the West Virginia Bureau of Mines, have you not?
Mr. FINCH. Yes; from time to time.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Do you find the West Virginia Bureau of Mines to be cooperative?
Mr. FINCH. We have worked with them at various times.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I should like to have a direct answer. Do you find the West Virginia Bureau of Mines cooperative?
Mr. MARCANTONIO. I submit the gentleman has given an answer.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I think that the question is a good one and should be answered. Mr. MARCANTONIO. I think that the answer, too, is a good one. Mr. RANDOLPH. May I have an answer to my question?
Mr. FINCH. There have been times when there was no active cooperation with West Virginia, and times when no assistance was requested by the State Bureau of Mines.
Mr. GRISWOLD. If there is nothing further, let us adjourn to meet next Monday at 10:30 a. m.
(Thereupon at 11:50 a. m., Wednesday, Jan. 22, 1936, the subcommittee adjourned, to meet at 10:30 a m., Monday, Jan. 27, 1936.) INVESTIGATION RELATING TO HEALTH CONDITIONS OF WORKERS EMPLOYED IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 1936
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON LABOR,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met at 10:45 a. m., Hon. Jennings Randolph presiding, for further consideration of House Joint Resolution 429, to authorize the Secretary of Labor to appoint a board of inquiry to ascertain the facts relating to health conditions of workers employed in the construction and maintenance of public utilities.
STATEMENT OF JAMES M. MASON
Mr. RANDOLPH. The subcommittee of the Committee on Labor, hearing the witnesses in connection with silicosis trouble in West Virginia, will resume hearings at this time and call to the stand Mr. James M. Mason, an attorney. Mr. Mason, your name has been mentioned in this record as a lawyer practicing at the time of the silicosis flare-up, or, we will say, silicosis trouble in West Virginia, at Charleston. Your home now is at Charleston, W. Va., is it not?
Mr. MASON. Yes.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Mr. Mason, tell us in your own way about the silicosis situation there and the victims with whom you came in contact at Charleston at the time, and then we will question you later.
Mr. Mason. In about 1931 I was employed by a committee of the House of Delegates of the State of West Virginia to make an investigation of the workmen's compensation department of West Virginia. Following that my attention was called to the working conditions in the Hawks Nest tunnel at or near Gauley, W. Va. That tunnel was constructed in accordance with a contract entered into between Rinehart & Dennis and the New Kanawha Power Co., the latter being a corporation organized for the purpose of constructing that project. That material handled in the construction of that tunnel was 99.4 percent silica.
The working conditions of the men were investigated by the Bureau of Mines, and, if my recollection serves me correctly, at a meeting of the Coal Institute held at Madison, W. Va., Robert Lambie, then head of the Bureau of Mines of West Virginia, made severe criticism and indictment of officials of the Rinehart & Dennis Co.,