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Mining Review 2/11: Safety First (1949)


Main image of Mining Review 2/11: Safety First (1949)
Mining Review 2nd Year No. 11: Safety First
July 1949
35mm, black and white, 3 mins
DirectorPeter Pickering
Production CompanyData Film Productions
SponsorNational Coal Board
PhotographyJames Ritchie
 Charles Smith

A report on safety in mines, paying attention to new techniques and practices that have reduced accidents to half 1938's level.

Show full synopsis

Mining is, by its very nature, a hugely hazardous profession, so it comes as little surprise that Mining Review often turned to the subject of health and safety. The last few months of the newsreel's first year had seen a series of items on medical conditions and their treatment, including a three-part series on pneumoconiosis, and items on training almost invariably featured a section on safety. Given that much of the target audience of Mining Review would have been miners themselves and concerned family members, such items sought as much to reassure as they did to educate.

Safety First was one of the earliest Mining Reviews to address the issue of safety from a primarily scientific perspective, though there would be many future items in a similar vein. It demonstrates various examples of how improvements in mining technology, ranging from the introduction of steel roof supports capable of bearing a specifically pre-calculated load, testing each strand of the steel cables used to winch coal to the surface, and investigating the precise causes of coal dust explosions. These improvements, the narrator proudly boasts, have cut accidents by half compared with 1938.

National Coal Board records show that this item was filmed on 15 and 16 March 1949, with the total cost of shooting amounting to £173, five shillings and eightpence.

Michael Brooke

*This film is included in the BFI DVD compilation 'Land of Promise: The British Documentary Movement 1930-1950'.

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Complete item (3:02)
Complete newsreel (9:25)
Mining Review 2/11: A Star Drops In (1949)
Mining Review 2/11: Paying For It (1949)
Mining Review Science Special (1956)
Mining Review: 2nd Year (1948-49)