Safety was paramount in the coal mines of Colorado. Awards were often given out to safe workers at meetings that highlighted working safely. In the photograph below the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association award is given at Frederick Mine. Behind the men is a blackboard from the visible year of 1959 detailing the amount of days that were accident free in Frederick Mine. The award was given to those who worked the longest without an accident or saved the live of another. It should be noted, the award was also given posthumously to those who gave their lives to save another miner in the event of an accident.
Mine officials handing out the Joseph A. Holmes award
Miners at Frederick awarded for their safety.

When an accident did occur, the company went about finding out how the accident occurred and the nature of the accident. In the below photo, a worker has returned after losing a portion of his leg and and demonstrates where the accident happened.

Often times miners involved in accidents were asked to recreate the incidents. Here, an incident is demonstrated by a miner after losing his leg.

Miners entering Frederick Mine put their lives on the line constantly by the possibility of explosions and as Historian Carl Abbott writes, "Coal miners knew they faced danger every day from collapsing shafts."[1]
The work that the miners performed was dangerous to say the least, and often times the company hosted events to inform the miners of equipment available and how to use the equipment to save their lives. Here, miners from Frederick practice using a sort of 'miner's fire engine' that could put out fires in the event one should occur.
The men, as shown by the below picture, practiced the use of their safety equipment out of the environment in which they would be using the safety equipment.

A demonstration of the fire hose.

A safety exercise at Frederick Mine.

Because of this, CF&I enforced safety in Frederick by requiring miners to reinforce the sides of their cramp work space.

Injury in Frederick Mine

Workers looking over broken track in Frederick Mine. It is hard to imagine fixing such a track in a tight space.

Maintaining the structural integrity of mine was essential for a safe work environment.

Almost comically, the company highlighted the importance of 'timbering' in the below document.

Found on the back of the above image.

Safety became a badge of honor for many mines and Frederick Mine was no exception. Here, workers parade the fact that they have observed working safely.

Workers from Frederick Mine parading their accident free work attitude.

Often times even the act of timbering did not save miners from cave-ins. In the below picture, timbering has failed and cracks in the ceiling are present putting miners in danger.

To protect the miners from cave-ins, they used a process known as 'timbering' to reinforce the roofs of the mines.

Accident showing a fatality.


All images used on this page, otherwise where noted, were used with permission from the Bessemer Historical Society. Reproduction or redistribution is allowed only with permission from the Bessemer Historical Society. Please contact the Bessemer Historical Society at:

©Bessemer Historical Society, 215 Canal Street Pueblo, CO 81004
Phone:(719) 564-9086 Fax: (719) 564-9681
  1. ^ Carl Abbott, Stephen J. Leonard, and Thomas J. Noel, Colorado: a History of the Centennial State, 4th ed. (Boulder, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, 2005), 107.