The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

September 2nd, 2015

Jan. 28, 1943Springhill RecordDeath is Accidental

     Varley B. Fullerton, K.C., of Parrsboro, presided over the investigation into the death of Herman E. Weirich, at a sitting held in Springhill last Thursday.

     The hearing was held under “The Coal Mines Regulation Act, Nova Scotia Laws1927 Chapter 1, and in particular with the sections dealing with accidents causing death.

Present at the hearing were: Arthur Phillips, - Deputy Inspector of Mines: and E.B. Paul, - Resident Superintendent and William F. Campbell, Manager of No. 2 Mine.  Representing the U.M.W. Daniel Harroun and Thomas Porter the Mines Committee and other persons.

     A number of witnesses were sworn and their evidence given as shown by the attached hereto. 

     The deceased, Herman E. Weirich, thirty one years of age, was a man of substantial stature, was considered a capable mine worker and had been in the employ of the Coal Company at Springhill for a number of years. On the morning of January 11th he was at work on the 9000 cast level, No. 2 mine, and his work was operating the tugger.  On this morning he went to work as usual and arrived at this particular place in the mine about eight o’clock.  Before he took charge of the operation of the tugger it was necessary to move some boxes.  The deceased co-worker, Robert Silvea, ran the first box going up, which would establish that the tugger was working satisfactorily.  When the deceased took charge he lowered the full box down and the rope was taut.  Silvea asked for some slack in order to unhook the chain. 

     It was at this juncture the trouble arouse.  The deceased apparently started the tugger to give this slack rope and he must have been operating the machine from the side although the customary place was from the back and it was at the back of the tugger he was standing when he lowered the box.  In some unknown way his hand got entangled with the wire rope, while the tugger was slowly in operation, and this dragged him over against the brace props at the back of the tugger, crushing him severely and which injuries resulted in his death.  In the evidence of Fred O’Brien, who was working near by the deceased, it is suggested that possibly the deceased took hold of the rope with his left hand and was probably wanting to reverse the tugger but instead of reversing the throttle he advanced it and wound the rope up, his hand became caught in the rope and his arm went around the drum. 

     There was no one who saw this happening.  Although Silvea was only a few feet away he had his back turned and did not observe what was happening.  In a matter of only a few seconds after the tugger was set in operation to give Silvea the slack rope, he heard the deceased call and when he turned around he found him caught in the tugger, which had already stopped and released Weirich’s arm.  O’Brien and Silvea, with the assistance of some miners, who were called from their work at the top of the sheet, extricated the deceased from his entanglement.  They immediately secured an empty box, in which they placed the deceased, with coverings and proceeded to the surface where he was placed in the ambulance.  When Dr. R.R. Withrow reached the deceased, as soon as possible after he reached the surface, he was dead.  The Doctor examined the body and in his evidence states that death was the result of severe injuries which crushed his chest and arm. 

     In view of the evidence I can make no other finding that the deceased came to his death  through an unavoidable accident and that no fault can be attached to any person or working of the mine connected therewith.

     Apparently this tugger, and possibly one other in the mines, contained a spring which had to do with the mechanism and control of the throttle.  The other tuggers in the mine do not have this spring.  In this particular instance, the spring had been broken and I take it the tugger operated successfully without the spring being there.  However, the spring no doubt had a use when it was placed there and in case there is some advantage in having the spring attached to the tugger, I would recommend that this spring be replaced in working order.

Apr. 8, 1943Revokes Ruling on $1 Purchases

Ottawa: Merchants may no longer require a customer to buy a $1 worth of goods in order to purchase a particular commodity which is short supply.  Withdrawal of the permission to make such conditional sales is announced by the Wartime Prices and Trade Board, on the grounds that the permission has been abused. 

     The ruling which is now revoked was announced during the shortage of butter immediately prior to rationing, in order to enable retailers available supplies in a more equitable manner and discourage hoarding by customers who “toured” stores in search of butter.


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