Slapewath Fatality – Thomas Field – 09 Mar 1899

Aged 35, Miner, He and his marrow had a tub partly filled with ironstone and left it spragged up a short distance from the face when a powder shot was fired. A piece of stone from the shot hit and broke the sprag, which let the tub away. They tried to stop it but found it was too heavy for them, and in getting out of the way deceased tripped over the rail and the tub wheel ran against his leg. Blood poisoning set in and the leg was amputated, but he died on March 9th.

1899 Mines Inspectors Report (Cd 134), Durham District (No. 4) by R. D. Bain, H.M. Inspector of Mines, Page: 28

No. 72 on the list occurred at Spawood Mine, belonging to Sir B. Samuelson & Co., Ltd., on the 23rd February, causing the death of a miner on the 9th of March.

This accident was of an unusual character. Deceased had drilled a hole, charged and stemmed it, but before firing it, he and the man working along with him, lowered a wagon which was about half full of ironstone, down from the face about 10 yards, and as there was a slight gradient from the face they put a sprag in one of the wheels. Deceased then lit the shot up, and both men retired to a place of safety. The shot exploded, and they were returning to the place when they met the wagon running down from the face. They both attempted to stop it. but were not successful, and deceased was either knocked down or tripped over the rail, and one of the wheels of the wagon ran against the calf of his leg, and severely bruised it.

He progressed fairly well, but blood poisoning supervened, and it was found necessary to amputate the leg, and he died from the shock.
It was afterwards found that a piece of stone from the shot had hit the sprag, which was an iron one, and broken it in two, and the wagon had thus been let away.
It is very necessary that wagons, when shots are being fired, should be moved a sufficient distance from the face to prevent them being hit, as in this case.

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