The 1950s color training film “Dangers Along Haulage Ways” is a cautionary tale promoting mine safety. The scenarios are re-enactments based on case files. As the story opens, a mine worker is seriously injured because his thoughts were on an upcoming hunting trip — not on safety. Rather than drive his shuttle car in the direction of travel, “Mike” puts his vehicle in reverse (mark 02:30) and at a high rate of speed. The safety engineer doesn’t approve of such behavior (04:20) and reminds him (and the viewer) of safety rules and regulations. At mark 05:38 the film switches to loading machine operators who are stymied by a sudden power failure. Sadly, Mike is back to driving his shuttle car in reverse and crashes into the stalled loading machine (06:43). In the hospital his co-workers await word and remind each other of the importance of following safety protocol, and how any violation — big or small — of a safety practice is still a violation. We’re taken inside a safety meeting beginning at mark 09:22 and workers revisit topics such as loose lamp cords or belts and to be careful in tight passageways. Not everyone was paying attention, as a worker is shown conducting a routine repair and jumping between two moving carts only to have a loop of clothing become caught, crushing him against rock (mark 11:44). “The underlying cause of this accident was the workman’s failure to think about his safety,” laments a co-worker. There are continuing scenes of safety hazards and violations, each time the narrator stressing how injury could have been avoided by following safety protocol. As dramatic music swells, the message is driven home when, at mark 18:48, it’s revealed “Mike” died from his injuries.
God bless our miners and everyone who works underground.
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