Source 5  
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Full Transcript Source 5
This is the conclusion of the inspector's report you have looked at in sources 1-3. Here he sums up his findings and makes recommendations.
(Catalogue ref: HO 87/53)


In comparing the Collieries of England and Scotland, it is just to say that the former are vastly superior in point of ventilation and general arrangements, and it is highly desirable that the Colliery proprietors in the latter district should adopt means to procure a more abundant ventilation to be produced by respectable furnaces, and suitable doors and stoppings, but the absence of inflammable air induces the neglect of this Caution, so essential to health, though it often happens that an unlooked for discharge of Gas however diminutive, occasions the loss of life; also disease is engendered by the want of atmosphere air which stealthily but unobservedly sapps the human constitution.

I have tried the quality of air in many of the Scotch Colliers, accounted respectable in point of ventilation, and found the total quantity only 3000 or 4000 cub. feet p. minute, and in consequence this current is liable to be affected and even reversed by the slightest accident- for where the ventilation is so weak the breath of the workman, powder smoke arising from the blasting, and the smoking of tobacco, produces an atmosphere which cannot fail to be subversive of health.

The prevalence of single doors at the shaft bottom is also a constant interruption to the air current, as every time the tub is brought through, the air rushes in the shaft to the neglect and partial stagnation of the workings.

Upon the whole I may remark, that there is a growing desire abroad, of improving the condition of the mines but it would be more speedily advanced and accidents more effectively avoided, if the workmen were more alive to their own safety, and could more frequently attract the attention of the inspector to circumstances, wherein they consider the management deficient.

I am not unaware of the allegation, that were they to do so, they would be visited by reprehension and discharged from work, and altho' some individuals might take such a discreditable course, I take it upon myself to say, that in very few cases would the owner of a colliery act so retributively towards workmen, who in a fair and candid manner sought the interference of the inspector in a case wherein the colliery owner himself was so highly interested. But even suppose that to be the case I conceive it is the bounden duty of the Inspector to attend to an application from individual colliers so far as to ascertain the nature and grounds of the application and to treat such application as confidential.

Matthias Dunn

Mine Inspector