Turkey's 68 coal mines on hold until standards are met

Labor Ministry inspectors survey 111 mines countrywide and 68 mines stopped the production, says Deputy Minister

Turkey's 68 coal mines on hold until standards are met

World Bulletin/News Desk

Sixty eight mines stopped production after the ministry of Labor and Social Security Ministry conducted checks in Zonguldak and its surrounding provinces, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Security Halil Etyemez said.

Etyemez said that mine inspections are on the increase in the interests of public safety after accidents occurred with high fatalities. 

"Ministry inspectors are inspecting 111 mines countrywide, and 68 mines stopped production after inspections were made in Zonguldak and the surrounding provinces," Etyemez said.

"Stopping production in the 68 mines does not mean they have been closed down, but this decision is taken if an inspection reveals that a mine poses a threat," said Etyemez.

According to Etyemez, inspectors made recommendations to rectify any urgent deficiencies which were found.

Etyemez listed the safety requirements expected in the mines. Gas monitors are required to check for coal gas in the mines, Gasmasks, double entrances and exits, fire-resistant electrical appliances and tools are required to have APEX certification which ensures equipment is inflammable in accordance with EU standards. 

"If we detect a non-compliant material or tool, we stop work in the mine and our inspectors continue with their checks," said Etyemez.

He said that through the checks, it was recognized that mines differ with regard to worker’s health and safety. 

"We observed a lack of awareness of health and safety essentials. Additionally, miners should be made aware of possible risks in the mines," he added. 

Certificate will be a necessity to work in the mines.

Mining and construction industries are classified as hazardous work, so those who do not have professional competence certificates will not be able to work in these sectors, Etyemez explained.

He said that new regulations will be put in place soon to decrease the high incidence of accidents in the mining and construction industries. According to the new regulations, those in charge of recruitment of workers in these industries and of health and safety will be obliged to undertake vocational education and training to raise awareness of health and safety issues from the related institutions, Etyemez said.

Mines are living organisms

Etyemez explained that looking for those who are guilty after the occurrence of mining accidents is a desperate process. He added that conditions in a mine are frequently and rapidly changing and inspections on the working conditions may quickly become insufficient and obsolete, therefore, regular inspections to ensure security measures are in place needs to undertaken to prevent accidents. 

A total of 18 miners were trapped in a mine in Karaman located some 400 kilometers south of the capital, Ankara, when a water pipe exploded and caused a flood on Oct. 28.

The incident in Karaman mine comes just five-and-a-half months after an explosion at a coal mine in Soma, Manisa, in western Turkey, which caused the worst mine disaster in the country’s history, killing 301 miners.

An elevator dropped down the shaft and crashed onto the ground at a construction site in Istanbul's central Mecidiyekoy neighborhood, killing 10 workers on Sept. 6.

According to International Labor Organization figures, Turkey ranks first in Europe and third in the world for fatal work accidents. The organization says 18 out of 100,000 insured laborers die every year in work-related accidents, seven times greater than the EU average of 2.5.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Aralık 2014, 16:23

Muhammed Öylek