Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

INSPECTOR OF COAL AND HYDROCARBON MINES

Agency History #210

CREATION

The first Utah State Governor appointed the first Coal Mine Inspector on April 6, 1896, in response to a Legislative act. The state inspector replaced a nationally appointed mine inspector whose responsibility, as defined by Congress, had been to "protect the lives of miners in the territories." (Inspector of Coal and Hydrocarbon Mines. Biennial Reports [Series 83919], 1896). In 1917, when the State Legislature created the Industrial Commission, it abolished the office of Coal Mine Inspector and transferred his duties to the newly created Commission.

FUNCTIONS

Utah law required the state inspector to quarterly examine Utah mines and to annually inform the governor on all matters relating to mine safety. If it was determined that unsafe conditions existed, the governor would give the mine owner written notice that he must correct the problem or close the mine. Mine bosses were required to immediately report any serious accident to the mine inspector, who was then required to go to the scene as quickly as possible. The inspector was to give directions, as necessary, for future safety, investigate the accident and make a report. After 1905, the mine inspector was required to be on the examining board which granted certification for mine bosses and fire bosses. The mine inspector was not required to inspect mines which employed fewer than six full time employees, nor did his jurisdiction extend to metal mines.

ADMINISTRATION

Coal mine inspectors were appointed by the Governor with approval of the legislature. Mine inspectors were expected to devote full time to the discharge of their duty, and were required to have a thorough knowledge of mining systems and at least five years practical mining experience.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Coal mine inspectors were assisted by a deputy inspector and possibly a clerk. In March 1917, the State Legislature created the Industrial Commission (UTSVH00525-A), and in so doing, abolished the office of Coal Mine Inspector. Responsibilities relating to mine safety were thereafter performed by the commission.

DIRECTORS
Gomer Thomas, Apr 1896-Apr 1907
John E. Pettit, May 1907-Mar 1917

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff, June 2000

SOURCES

Inspector of Coal and Hydrocarbon Mines. Biennial Reports [Series 83919], 1896.

Legislature.Laws of Utah [Series 83155], 1917, Ch 100 "Industrial Commission of Utah."

Legislature. Utah Code Annotated [Series 83238], 1917, vol. 1, p. 828-835.