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October 24, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(17):1431. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02540170047011

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The recent statistics published by the U. S. Geological Survey make it clear that the most prolific source of disaster in mines is a clearly preventable one. The general idea is that gas, dust and powder explosions constitute the principal factor in mine disasters, and that such factors are either, in some cases, unforeseeable, or, if due to negligence, it is the neglect of some individual workman. It is impossible for man ever to protect himself absolutely against the culpable negligence of everyone. But the statistics referred to show that 1,122 deaths and 2,141 injuries were due to a preventable cause the responsibility for which must be assigned mainly to the owners, viz., the caving in of mine roofs and coal. These accidents are on a par with those due to unprotected machinery. They are a consequence of the selfish disregard for human life when it comes to the question

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