Call for safety measures at coal mines

Karachi:March 14: The members and staff of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) on Sunday expressed grief and sorrow over death of at least eight mine workers and injuries to others and reportedly many others were trapped inside a mine when a it collapsed in the Lower Orakzai Agency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In a statement, PILER Executive Director Karamat Ali offered condolences with the bereaved families on loss of the precious human lives. He mentioned that over 135 labourers have lost lives in Orakzai agency alone over the past few years.

This underscores the severe gravity of the situation in which frequent deaths of mininig labourers occure

Ali said the incidents of collapse of coal mines are often reported from different parts of the country due to use of old methods of mining and lack of health and safety for the worker, as well as absence of inspections by provincial labour departments.

The rain alone, he said, could not be a reason for the coal mine collapse in Orakzai Agency, as there was likely negligence on the part of the mine owners and the government.

Ali pointed out that the Mines Act 1923 provides provisions for health and safety for workers and also explains the responsibilities and duties of inspectors, owners, agents, managers and state officials.

There are often inadequate facilities at the mines for relief and rescue of the workers in case of any emergency or incident and the provincial government have also kept themselves oblivion from their responsibilities as no labour inspection is done on regular basis, he said.

Ali demanded of the government to ensure regular inspections of the coal mines and force the owners of the mines to provide health and safety measures at the site as per the laws.

Unfortunately, he mentioned that Pakistan had still not ratified the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Safety and Health in Mines Convention 1995 (No. 176.). Besides, Pakistan also does not follow the 2006 ILO Code on Safety and Health in Underground Coal Mines that sets out general principles and specific guidance in all aspects of mining operations, including record keeping and documentation.

He also demanded that the government ratify the ILO Convention and follow the Code on Safety and Health in Coal Mines.The news.