Coal Mines Regulation Act 1908
The Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1908 altered working conditions in coal mines. The legislation introduced limits to the hours that workers could be underground. For most workers in the coal industry this was a period of 8 hours per day underground as a maximum. Times upon which miners had gone underground were to be posted at the mine head so that conformity with the legislation was highly visible. Managers of the mines were required to establish a pattern of shifts that ensured that the limits could not be exceeded. These requirements were subject to inspection. Mine owners had the right to take any concerns about inspectors findings to the local courts who would rule on their practises.
There were some exemptions to the rule. Repair crews were permitted to enter the mine on a Saturday evening if they had a gap of 8 hours since their previous shift. This overcame other legislation about working on Sundays. Other exemptions related to work in the aftermath of an accident or emergency. Some workers hours were set down at slightly higher hours.
The legislation improved working conditions for miners and reduced the risk of accidents being caused by exhaustion. The text of the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1908, is available here.
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