Coal Mines Regulation Act 1908

1 Limit of hours of work below ground in coal mines.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)Subject to the provisions of this Act a [F1worker] shall not be below ground in a mine for the purpose of his work, and of going to and from his work, for more than [F2eight hours][F2seven hours] during any consecutive twenty-four hours.

(2)No contravention of the foregoing provisions shall be deemed to take place in the case of a [F1worker] working in a shift if the period between the times at which the last [F1worker] in the shift leaves the surface and the first [F1worker] in the shift returns to the surface does not exceed [F2eight hours][F2seven hours]; nor shall any contravention of the foregoing provisions be deemed to take place in the case of any [F1worker] who is below ground for the purpose of rendering assistance in the event of accident, or for meeting any danger or apprehended danger, or for dealing with any emergency or work uncompleted through unforeseen circumstances which requires to be dealt with without interruption in order to avoid serious interference with ordinary work in the mine or in any district of the mine, or, in the case of stall [F1workers] when engaged in the process of taking down top coal in square or wide work in the thick coal of the South Staffordshire district, so long as their presence in or near the stall is necessary to ensure safety.

(3)The . . . F3 manager of every mine shall fix for each shift of [F1workers] in the mine the time at which the lowering of the [F1workers] to the mine is to commence and to be completed, and the time at which the raising of the [F1workers] from the mine is to commence and to be completed, in such a manner that every [F1worker] shall have the opportunity of returning to the surface without contravention of the foregoing provisions of this section, and shall post and keep posted at the pit head a conspicuous notice of the time so fixed, and shall make all arrangements necessary for the observance of those times in lowering and raising the [F1workers].

(4)The interval between the times fixed for the commencement and for the completion of the lowering and raising of each shift of [F1workers] to and from the mine shall be such time as may for the time being be approved by the inspector as the time reasonably required for the purpose. Provided that, in the event of any accident to the winding machinery, or other accident interfering with the lowering or raising of [F1workers], the interval may temporarily be extended to such extent as may be necessary; but in any such case the . . . F3 manager of the mine shall on the same day send notice of the extension and the cause thereof to the inspector, and the extension shall not continue beyond such date as may be allowed by the inspector.

(5)In the event of the . . . F3 manager feeling aggrieved by a decision of the inspector under the last foregoing subsection, the matter shall, in accordance with regulations as to procedure and costs made by the Secretary of State, be referred to the decision of a person appointed by the judge of county courts for the district, or in Scotland by the sheriff of the [F4sheriffdom], in which the mine is situate, whose decision shall be final; but until such decision is given the times approved by the inspector shall be in force as respects the mine.

(6)A repairing shift of [F1workers] may, notwithstanding the provisions of this section, for the purpose of avoiding work on Sunday, commence their period of work on Saturday before twenty-four hours have elapsed since the commencement of their last period of work, so long as at least eight hours have elapsed since the termination thereof.

(7)For the purposes of this Act, the expression “worker” means any person employed in a mine below ground, who is not an official of the mine (other than a . . . F3 deputy), or a mechanic or horse-keeper, or a person engaged solely in surveying or measuring; and any number of [F1workers] whose hours for beginning and terminating work in the mine are approximately the same shall be deemed to be a shift of [F1workers].

Provided that—

(a)In the case of a . . . F3 deputy, [F5onsetter], pump-minder, fanman, or furnace- [F1worker], the maximum period for which he may be below ground under this Act shall be [F6nine hours and a half][F6eight hours]; and

(b)Where the work of sinking a pit or driving a cross-measure drift is being carried on continuously, no contravention of the provisions of this Act shall be deemed to take place as respects any [F1worker] engaged on that work if the number of hours spent by him at his working place does not exceed six at any one time, and the interval between the time of leaving the working place and returning thereto is in no case less than twelve hours.

If any question under this section arises (otherwise than in legal proceedings) whether any person is a [F1worker] or is a [F1worker] of any particular class, that question shall be referred to the Secretary of State, and his decision shall be final.

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Amendments (Textual)

F2 “Seven hours” substituted for “eight hours” in application to mines in which coal is worked by Coal Mines Act 1919 (c. 48), s. 1(a)

F5Word repealed in application to mines where coal is worked by Coal Mines Act 1919 (c. 48), s. 1(c)

F6 “Eight hours” substituted for “nine hours and a half” in application to mines in which coal is worked by Coal Mines Act 1919 (c. 48), s. 1(a)