mine safety

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mine safety

RICE, George S(amuel) (1866 - 1950), Chief Mining Engineer, US Bureau of Mines, 1910–37, retired, also Chairman of its Mine Safety Board; Consulting Engineer from 1937

MULLINS, Brian Percival (1920 - 1990), Director of Research and Laboratory Services and Head of Safety in Mines Research Establishment, Health and Safety Executive, (Under-Secretary), 1975–80

WHEELER, Richard Vernon (1883 - 1939), Professor of Fuel Technology, Sheffield University; Director of Safety in Mines Research Board Experimental Stations, Sheffield and Buxton

WASS, Charles Alfred Alan (1911 - 1989), Director of Safety in Mines Research Establishment, Sheffield, 1970–74

RAMSAY, Henry Thomas (1907 - 1997), Director, Safety in Mines Research Establishment, Ministry of Technology (formerly Ministry of Power), Sheffield, 1954–70, retired

JONES, Michael Barry (1932 - 1996), HM Chief Inspector of Mines, Health and Safety Executive, 1986–92

JOHNSTON, Archibald Gilchrist (1931 - 1985), Director of Research and Laboratory Services Division and Head of Safety in Mines Research Establishment, since 1980

DIXON, Harold Baily (1852 - 1930), Hon. Professor of Chemistry, University of Manchester, 1922; Supervisor of research on ignition of gases under Safety in Mines Research Board, 1927

THORPE, Jocelyn (Field) (1872 - 1940), Professor of Organic Chemistry in the University of London (Imperial College), 1914–38, then Professor Emeritus; Advisory Council Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1916–22; Chemical Defence Committee, War Office; President Indian Chemical Services Committee, 1919–20; Member Safety in Mines Research Board, 1924–35, and Chairman Explosives in Mines Committee, Department of Mines, and Member Dye-stuffs Development Committee Board of Trade, 1925–34; President of the Chemical Society, 1928–31, and Member of Council of the Royal Society (1923–25), and President, Institute of Chemistry, 1933–36; Longstaff Medallist, Chemical Society, 1921; Davy Medallist, Royal Society, 1922


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Miners have among the highest occupational mortality and morbidity of any group, so there has long been concern about identifying and reducing the hazards. Pliny described lead poisoning and the hazards of asbestos exposure in the first century of our era. The risks of exposure to toxic minerals such as mercury were described by the 16th century German mineralogist Georgius Agricola (1494–1555). The British chemist Humphry Davy (1778–1829) invented the safety lamp, which reduced the risk of fires and explosions in coal mines. In the early 20th century, dust reduction by water sprays reduced the risk of miner's pneumoconiosis. Caged birds, typically canaries, were used as sentinels until chemical and electronic sensors to detect toxic gases and reduced oxygen supply were developed. Modern mine safety includes specialized engineering equipment and studies, ventilation controls, chemical sensors, ergonomics, and psychosocial factors.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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