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Colliery Warnings

Nature volume 85, pages 336338 (12 January 1911) | Download Citation



WHEN an appalling colliery disaster, like that at Hulton Colliery, happens to coincide with a “colliery warning,” public attention is naturally attracted to the fact, and the warning at once becomes invested with an appearance of importance that is out of all proportion to its true value. There appears to be an impression that these colliery warnings are issued by some central responsible authority, such as the Meteorological Office might be, and that they are based upon sound scientific principles, but as a matter of fact they are issued by the Press Association, and are apparently issued in defiance of all the dicta of science and all the teachings of practical experience. All these warnings are based on the assumption that a high barometric pressure indicates a condition of danger for the coal miner; for example, the warning published on December 19 last states:—“While the glass remains at about its highest level, miners are advised to beware of escapes of firedamp from the strata.” The entire falsity of this assumption has been repeatedly pointed out in the technical press, but as the warnings are still being issued on the same lines, it may be worth while to place the main data on the subject before those interested in the matter.

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