XI – CONFERENCE ON SAFETY IN MINES
Union Labour & employment Minster Shri Sis Ram Ola inaugurated 11th National Conference on Safety in Mines. Speaking on the occasion the minister said mining is being a hazardous profession where safety and health of persons working in mines is of utmost importance. Over the years many rules, protocols, standards etc. have been established to ensure that activities at work do not affect the safety and health of miners adversely. The rapidly changing scenario of mining industry the world over and specifically in India has introduced newer hazards and safety concerns at workplace while the traditional hazards such as inundation, fire, dust, noise etc. in mines are yet to be fully controlled. These hazards post new challenges for occupational safety and health professionals as well as mining technologies and will require comprehensive surveillance at workplaces and newer strategies for prevention of accidents in mines. The fact remains that despite efforts by government agencies, due importance is yet to be given by the mining industry to prevention of adverse effect on health of workers and the traditional approach towards safety has stopped yielding better results.
The Minister said our endeavour to bring down the hazards to prevent accident and occupational diseases by all available means to an acceptable level of risk must continue. A concerted efforts needs to be directed to reduce the risk so as to keep the work force not only safe but health and happy too. Shri Ola said we, in the Ministry of Labour and Employment will work in tandem with the industry with a view to achieving a ‘Nationally acceptable and internationally comparable standards of health, safety and welfare for the workers engaged in various Mines.
The Minister later launched launch a Nationwide initiative called “Safety is My Responsibility” campaign. Under it as a first step, a card has been launched in Hindi and English, which in due course of time will be carried by each mine worker of the country while at work. The card contains 10 (Ten) very important question reminding the employees to ask them before start of any work in mines. If the answers to such questions result in a “No”, the workers will be urged to take up the issue with their senior super supervisors at site for initiating corrective measures.
On this occasion Shri Kodikunneil Suresh, Minister of State in the Labour & Employment Ministry said it is necessary to link it up with productivity also. It is said that ‘safety and productivity goes hand in hand’. However, the economic necessity of increased productivity and more efficient systems of mining cannot be overemphasized. We must remember that mining is a labour intensive industry prone to hazards. Therefore, the safety and welfare issues for the employees of the mining industry is of paramount importance. With the betterment of production, etc. safety records of the mining industry also must improve so that in all areas, we become as good as the best in the world.
During the two day conference, the emerging safety issues in mines had been dwelt upon by different stake holders in order to identify the thrust areas for improvement in the safety standards in Indian mines. The Conference reviewed the status of safety in mining and adequacy of existing measures in improving working conditions in mines in a spirit of mutual cooperation. In this changing perspective, important issues like “Small Scale Mining”, “Safety, Health and Welfare of Contractual Workers” and “Surface and Underground Transport Machinery “etc. were be deliberated during two days.
After detailed deliberations, the Conference came out with important recommendations for further improvement in safety, welfare and health of mine workers of the country.
[The National Conferences on Safety in mines discuss the emerging safety issues in mines to identify the thrust areas for improvement in the safety standards in Indian mines and are attended by different stakeholders from mining industry of the country. The conferences review the status of safety in mining and adequacy of existing measures in improving working conditions in mines in a spirit of mutual cooperation.
This National Conference is the highest tripartite forum at the national level for deliberation on issues connected with safety and health in mines. CEOs of the mining companies as employers’ representatives, the leaders of the Central Trade Unions as workers’ representatives, representatives of the Central and State Governments, professional institutions, academic and research institutes and members of Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Labour and Employment participate as delegates in the conference.]