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Brookhouse Colliery - 1958 'Overwind' Incident

36 Persons Injured

Brookhouse Colliery, was situated about seven miles south-east of Sheffield, had two circular shafts each 18 feet in diameter about three quarters of a mile apart. The Beighton shaft, the upcast, was 1,282 feet deep to the lowest entrance, which was for the Silkstone Seam, and it was used for carrying both materials and a relatively small number of persons between shifts. The Brookhouse shaft where the overwind occurred was the downcast and it was 1,285 feet deep to the lowest entrance, which was used for the Silkstone Seam. About 16,000 tons of coal per week and the majority of the 1,500 persons employed underground at the colliery were conveyed through this shaft.

NARRATIVE OF THE OVERWIND.

The overwind occurred about 6.30 a.m. on Tuesday, 4th March, 1958, during a wind that was made after 260 persons had been raised out of the mine and 507 persons lowered into it by the man-winding operations that had commenced about one hour previously. In this wind the ascending overlap-rope cage was empty and the descending underlap-rope cage was carrying the maximum number of persons permitted by the manager, namely, 44 persons of whom there were 22 in each of the two decks of the cage.

The descending cage was landed on the wooden baulks at the Silkstone Seam entrance at such an excessive 'speed that 28 of the persons in the cage sustained fractures of the lower limbs and the remainder suffered from shock and bruises as a result of the impact. The impact also partially fractured one of the wooden baulks. The descending winding rope continued in motion until the winding engine stopped by which time a further 45 feet of this rope had been uncoiled from the drum. Part of the rope and the cage chains were lying on top of the cage.

The ascending cage travelled past the landing places in the headframe at a speed that was l.59 times that at which the descending cage had struck the baulks at the Silkstone Seam entrance. The cage continued to ascend and it was detached from the winding rope by the combined actions of the detaching hook in the cage suspension gear and of the detaching plate that was located below the overlap-rope pulley in the headframe. After detachment the cage continued to ascend until it had lost its momentum and then it dropped back owing to the effect of gravity until it was arrested by the safety catches.


RESCUE OPERATIONS.

The onsetter at the Silkstone Seam entrance saw the descending cage for a fleeting moment before it crashed on to the wooden baulks at that place and caused the men in the cage to crumple and drop. He and the other workmen and officials at the entrance assisted by the few men in the cage who had sustained only shock and bruises, immediately took steps to extricate the injured men from the cage.

The manager of the mine did not know that there had been an overwind involving a large number of men until 7.00 a.m. when he was told at his home by a messenger who had been sent by the under-manager of the mine. The delay in notifying the manager was caused by the inability of the telephone exchange operator at the mine to contact him because he had not been informed that the telephone numbers of the manager and some of his officials had been changed two days before when the Woodhouse Exchange was put on to the automatic system. The manager arrived at the mine at 7.10 a.m. assessed the situation and made arrangements for stretchers, ambulances and first aid equipment, stretcher bearers both below and above ground and casualty stations on the surface so that the men could receive medical attention before they were sent to the Sheffield Royal Infirmary. He informed the Infirmary of the probable number of injured men and asked for their reception and treatment. H.M. Senior District Inspector of Mines, the Area General Manager and other officials were notified of the accident.

The injured men were put on to stretchers and carried for about three quarters of a mile below ground from the Brookhouse downcast shaft to the Beighton upcast shaft where they were raised to the surface. They were then carried a short distance to the ambulances which conveyed them to the casualty stations near to the top of the Brookhouse shaft. The first of the injured men arrived at these stations at 8.30 a.m. and the last at 10.30 a.m. Here they received medical attention under the supervision of Dr. R. McL. Archibald, National Coal Board No. 1 (Worksop) Area Medical Officer, before they were sent to the Infirmary.


RECOMMENDATIONS.

As a result of the investigation of the overwind, the following urgent recommendations were made: -

1. The performance of every automatic contrivance to prevent over- winding as required by Regulation 7 of the Coal and Other Mines (Shafts, Outlets and Roads) Regulations, 1956, should be critically examined forthwith having regard to the results of the investigation of the overwind which is the subject of this Report.

2. Effective steps should be taken forthwith to eliminate the deficiencies that are found in any automatic contrivance to prevent overwinding.

3. The Code of Testing the Safety Equipment of Winding Engines which the National Coal Board have nearly completed should be reviewed in consultation with the manufacturers of winding engines and safety equipment. The Code should be modified where necessary in the light of this Report and then applied without delay to the winding engines at the Board's mines. Copies of the Code should be made available to the owners of other mines where winding engines with automatic contrivances are used.

4. The safety equipment of every winding engine should be constructed, tested and maintained so that nothing can prevent any part of the equipment from taking that action by which it fulfils its purpose.

5. The advantages and disadvantages of using dynamic, regenerative or other electrical braking in conjunction with mechanical braking that is applied slowly when the automatic contrivance of an electric winding engine trips during that portion of a wind where normally the cages move quickly, should be reviewed at an early date in the light of this Report and of modern practice both in this and other countries.

6. Every emergency push button should be situated so that the winding engineman can easily and readily operate it from the place where he normally controls the winding engine.

7. Appropriate and effective steps should be taken where still necessary to prevent grease or oil from being deposited on the brake paths of every winding engine.

8. The safety catches in any headframe should be adequately supported and arranged so that they may be readily examined, tested and maintained in proper working order.

9. Effective arrangements should be made at every mine to ensure that any change in the telephone number or address of any official or person who must be notified of any emergency is circulated and posted where necessary at the appropriate time.

A. E. CROOK.


List of Persons Injured.(36).

Brian Jones, 24 years of age, occupation,Collier.
Eric Hargate, 32 years of age, occupation,Haulage.
Albert Baugh, 65 years of age, occupation,Fitter.
George Dolman, 21years of age, occupation,Collier.
Maurice Parkin, 25 years of age, occupation,Fitter.
Harry Turner, 36, years of age, occupation, Belt Mechanic.
Arnold Clarke, 30 years of age, occupation, Belt Mechanic.
George Wall, 32 years of age, occupation, Bricklayer.
Kenneth Crouch, 20 years of age, occupation, Filler.
Arnold Keye, 35 years of age, occupation, Belt Mechanic.
Frank Jones, 27 years of age, occupation, Collier. Sustained a broken pelvis.
Patrick Jones, 23 years of age, occupation, collier. Sustained a broken leg.
Stanley Cooper, 35 years of age, occupation, Signalman.
George Brightman, 26 years of age, occupation, Collier.
Ronald Beaumont, 22 years of age, occupation, Collier.
Douglas Totty, 34 years of age, occupation, Belt Mechanic.
Harold Doncaster, 35 years of age, occupation, Repair Filler.
John Glossop, 30 years of age, occupation, Collier.
Harold Shaw, 21 years of age, occupation, Collier.
Ronald Bowler, 19 years of age, occupation, Electrician.
Keith Collins, 20 years of age, occupation, Filler.
Harry Gregory, 38 years of age, occupation, Haulage.
Ronald Bradder, 23 years of age, occupation, Collier.
William Powell, 32 years of age, occupation, Electrician.
Thomas Brocklehurst, 24 years of age, occupation, Collier.
Arthur Davison, 33 years of age, occupation, Belt Mechanic.
James Brashaw, 28 years of age, occupation, Electrician.
Barry Warriner, 21years of age, occupation, Collier.
Terry Bolton, 24 years of age, occupation, Mechanic.
John Garratt, 38 years of age, occupation, Safety Staff.
Patrick Freeman, 20 years of age, occupation, Haulage.
Chris. Pilkington, 20 years of age, occupation, Haulage.
Frank Gilson, 24 years of age, occupation, Electrician.
Dennis Smithson, 16 years of age, occupation, Haulage.
John Briggs, 16 years of age, occupation, Fitter.
Brian Blogg, 23 years of age, occupation, Haulage.

NOTE: Of these reportably injured men, 17 sustained a fractured femur, five sustained a fractured tibia and six sustained fractures of other bones.


Information fro Durham Mining Museum



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