APLF president, Mr. Sultan Muhammad Khan, confirmed that all the workers who died belonged to his Shangla town. “I request the federal and provincial governments to take emergency measures to rescue the laborers”, he added.
The injured have been shifted to Kalaya Hospital in Lower Orakzai Agency and DHQ hospital Kohat, where the conditions of some of the injured were stated to be critical.
In Orakzai, where the mine is located, rescue efforts continued for a second day to collect coalmine workers trapped underneath rubble. The cave collapsed Saturday, 12th of March, after a blast caused by amassed gas was accompanied with complicated rainfall.
Mr. Sultan Muhammad Khan said that every month, deadly incidents take place across coal mines in Pakistan and that government of Pakistan & mining authorities should be responsible for carrying out weekly searches to avoid disastrous incidents.
“Mine workers who are the backbone of the country are feeling unsafe and facing financial difficulties”, he said, adding that the government and owners of private coal mine companies are not providing any basic facilities or services to the workers in the field. “Hundreds of workers are losing their livelihoods because of a lack of basic facilities.”
Sultan Muhammad Khan also revealed that workers who had died in the field were paid compensation after an exceptionally long period of three years. “The mine department has failed to implement safety laws for the coal mines,” he said.
Among the problems faced by mine workers in Pakistan are:
- Lack of personal safety equipment
- Absence of safety committee
- No implementation on laws of the mines
- No Proper Training for mine workers
- No Awareness programmes
- Careless attitude of the manager and inspectorate of mines
- Unawareness among the workers recording OSH
- Uncertified shot fire and exploders
- Lake of welfare facilities
- No compensation for occupational disease
- Not maintaining any regular record of accident
- Lake of safety lamp
- Absence of proper wood to sustain the mine roof
- Insecure entrances and exist of mines
- Unawareness of the workers about the pathways inside the mines
- Dust, coal dist and smoke
- Absence of fresh air
- Lack of fresh drinking water
- Lake of first aid equipment
- Unavailability of ambulance at the work place at the required time
- Absence of bathrooms and toilets
- Absence of canteen
- Lake of appropriate residential facilities
- Lack of transport facility etc.
As per international standards, miners should be properly dressed in fitting shirts and trousers leaving no space for methane to come into contact with their bodies. They should wear helmets, carry safety lamps and keep gas cylinders handy.
One hardly ever sees these measures implemented in the mines of Pakistan.