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Mining Workshop held in India

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Coal Miners

Delegates from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India and the Philippines attended the Workshop on Health and Safety in Asian Mines held last January 21-22, 2008 in Dhanbad, India. The activity was initiated by the Hong Kong based Asia Monitor Resource Center (AMRC) and supported by local organizations in India, namely the Arnab Socio Educational Institute Trust (ASEIT), Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) and People Training and Research Center (PTRC).

Some of the highlights of the workshop were presentations of technical papers from the delegates discussing health and safety in mines across Asia and site visits to an open cast and underground coal mines in Dhanbad.

“The technical papers presented here were very informative. In India, 80% of coal mining is done through open cast (open pit) while in China 90% is done through underground mining. Both poses occupational health and safety (OHS) issues which must be addressed directly by all stakeholders,” said Sanjiv Pandita, OHS Program Officer of AMRC and organizer of the event.

According to Noel Colina, Executive Director of the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD) and one of the participants of the workshop, the visit to both open cast and underground mining were the milestones of the 2-day activity. “We went down an underground coal mine which was 500 meters deep and then walked for more than a kilometer down the tunnel where the miners were extracting coal. It gave me a stark reminder that in underground mining, safety of miners must come before anything else. A small error can become fatal for the workers.”

The activity was capped by a closing program highlighted by giving of gifts from the Chinese delegation.