28 MAY 1921, Page 12



S/R,—In the discussion excited by the coal strike, great play is often made by the suggestion that mining is an occupation so exceptionally dangerous that the community may be fairly asked to subsidize it. A fair example of this is shown in the able article, with much of which most people will agree, in the May issue of the Nineteenth Century and After, signed "E. B. Osborn." He writes: "And this industry is sui generis and unique because the yearly casualties are those of a great battle and largely beyond human control, so that coal-mining has a claim to a State subsidy in case of need which no other industry possesses." The facts do not bear out this statement. The Mercantile Marine is far and away more dangerous to life —the railway is not much less dangerous to life and limb—than the coal-mines. The death rates from accidents for the years 1904 to 1908—I have not later figures at hand, but these averages do not change much—are as follows: Death rate from acci- dents per 10,000, seamen, 50.4; miners, 13.2; quarrymen, 10.6; railwaymen, 7.5. For injuries not fatal the rate of the railway- men is about five times as high as that of the miners, and of the seamen about 20 per cent, higher than the miners. The general death rate of miners compares favourably with that of