7 no 1, 1999
Mining Industry Deaths and Injuries
"Mining kills and injures more workers than any other industry."
The following extracts (&
above quote) are reprinted from
The situation is likely to be worse than statistics suggest as corporations and governments keep poor records.
The US has the second best Western safety standard, but in the first half of 1997, 84 mine workers died due to workplace accidents.
In South Africa, one worker dies and 12 suffer serious injuries for every ton of gold produced.
In 1996, 3,362 people died as a result of accidents in Chinese coal mines. Unions claim this is the worst-known record in the world.
Uranium mining has exposed more workers to radiation than any other industry - causing 20,000 deaths since the 1950s.
Fatalities in Australian Mining
The following are extracts from the Safety and Health Performance, Minerals Industry Survey Report 1997, by the Minerals Council of Australia.
In 1996/97, 33 fatalities were recorded in the Australian minerals industry. Over the past decade, on average, some 26 deaths per year have occurred in the industry. The 1996/97 fatality figure is one of the worst recorded in the last 10 years and is one more than that recorded in 1994/95 when the Moura disaster claimed 11 lives. This is unacceptable and underlines the view that the elimination of fatalities should be a strong focus of the industrys safety and health effort.
Two-thirds of the fatalities in the 1996/97 year occurred in underground mining operations with 13 deaths recorded in the underground metalliferous sector and the other 9 in underground coal mines. This latter figure includes the four deaths arising from the Gretley tragedy. Of the remaining 11 fatalities, slightly more occurred in the open-cut metalliferous sector.
The Ulan Miners Support Group
The following email was circulated in January 1999.
The Ulan Miners support group has started a campaign to get the law changed so that mining companies and their decision makers will be prosecuted when their negligence leads to the death of miners.
For example, following the Gretley disaster where the walls collapsed and the mine flooded, there were found to be 43 counts of gross negligence. There were no prosecutions.
At Moura in Queensland there have been three disasters costing 36 lives. Again no prosecutions.
And this happens disaster after disaster.
The Ulan Group are asking people to show their support by either: signing their Guestbook on their website at http://www.minsupgrp.freeservers.com or send an e-mail message of support to [email protected]
The Ulan Miners Support group consists of family, friends and retired miners. The Ulan Group is no longer incorporated as a charity. Its President is Pauline Byfield. She has sent out this appeal for support for justice.
Ulan is near Mudgee, NSW, Australia.
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