Report: APP CMHS Project 1




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2.4.2. Safety

Safety culture in Indian coal mines is through prescriptive national legislation. India has a strong legislation base which has evolved over a period of one hundred years. The Union Ministry of Labour and Employment is vested with the responsibility of ensuring workers safety through the implementation of various legislative measures. The regulatory authority responsible for ensuring and enforcing safety is the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) under the provisions of Mines Act 1952 and associated legislation.

Training and competence

Training is provided and required of all personnel in accordance with the Mine Vocational Training Rules (1966). The Indian Institute of Coal Management has been established to develop coal mining management excellence. Refresher training is also conducted.

Safety leadership

Safety in coal mines is monitored by the following bodies apart from DGMS and the Internal Safety Organisations of coal companies.

  • The DGMS as indicated above

  • Internal safety organisations of individual coal companies

  • Workmen’s inspectors: Safety status of each and every mine is monitored by representatives of the workmen, one each from Mining, Electrical and Mechanical disciplines through inspections. The reports of such inspections and status of compliance with recommendations are forwarded to the local DGMS office.

  • Safety committee at mine level: The Safety Committee at mine level also monitors the safety status at each mine every month through inspection and meetings for review of safety status of the mine. This committee consists of representatives of workmen and management.

  • Area level bipartite/tripartite safety committees: an Area Level Committee comprising representatives of workmen and management monitors and reviews the safety performance of each mining area biannually. Often representative of DGMS also participates.

  • Company level tripartite safety committee: Tripartite safety committee functions at company level and consists of representatives of workmen, DGMS and management for review and monitoring of safety measures. This body meets bi-annually.

  • Standing Committee on Safety in Coal Mines: The safety status of all coal mines is reviewed by the Standing Committee on safety in Coal Mines Chaired by the Minister for Coal.

  • A conference for Safety in Mines is held by Ministry of Labour and the DGMS every 3-4 years, for representatives of Trade Unions, management, educational/research institutions and the Ministry of Coal.

Figure 13 Cause of fatalities in Indian mining disasters

The major causes of fatalities in Indian mining disasters are water inundation and gas explosion (Figure 13). In an analysis made by DGMS, India in coal mines during the years 2004, 2005 and 2006 it was revealed that:

  • The number of fatal accidents due to ground movement involving roof and side fall were 33, 25 and 17 for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively.

  • Roof and side fall accidents accounted for about 21 % of all fatal accidents during the year 2006. Roof fall fatal accidents decreased in number from 18 in 2005 to 13 in 2006. About 16 % of all fatal accidents in 2006 were due to roof fall alone. (Figure 14)

  • The number of fatal accidents due to Load Haul Dump equipment (LHD or Loader) decreased from 16 in 2005 to 12 in 2006 which accounted for about 14.6 % of total accidents.

  • Rope haulage accounted for 9.8 %, other machineries 19.5 % and other causes 20.8 % during the year 2006.

  • Fall of persons, the dominant cause of serious accidents, accounted for about 26 %, followed by rope haulage at 22 %, during the year 2006. (Figure 15)

  • Serious accidents due to fall of objects accounted for about 17 % of all serious accidents during the year 2006.

Figure 14 Cause of fatal accidents

Figure 15 Cause of serious accidents

Recording of fatalities is based on number of fatalities, fatalities per million tonne (rather than per million work hours), per 300,000 shifts worked and per 1000 employees. Serious injuries are considered in the same terms: number of serious injuries, serious injury per million tone output, per 300,000 shifts worked and per 1000 employees. More detailed safety statistics in India’s coal mines between 2002 and 2007 are shown in Appendix C. Incident/accident data has some degree of causal analysis applied at sites. There is some use of leading indicators, though it is not clear how widespread nor the level of response to the information. Safety audits are typically conducted on a two-yearly basis.


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