All Pakistan Labour Federation condemns the deaths of mine workers and demands judicial inquiry

At least 10 workers were killed and 30 were seriously injured at Al-Hussaini Coal Mine, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. According to APLF, 65 workers were inside the mine when it collapsed due to torrential rains.

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:

  1. Lack of personal safety equipment
  2. Absence of safety committee
  3. No implementation on laws of the mines
  4. No Proper Training for mine workers
  5. No Awareness programmes 
  6. Careless attitude of the manager and inspectorate of mines
  7. Unawareness among the workers recording OSH
  8. Uncertified shot fire and exploders
  9. Lake of welfare facilities
  10. No compensation for occupational disease
  11. Not maintaining any regular record of accident
  12. Lake of safety lamp
  13. Absence of proper wood to sustain the mine roof
  14. Insecure entrances and exist of mines
  15. Unawareness of the workers about the pathways inside the mines
  16. Dust, coal dist and smoke
  17. Absence of fresh air
  18. Lack of fresh drinking water
  19. Lake of first aid equipment
  20. Unavailability of ambulance at the work place at the required time
  21. Absence of bathrooms and toilets
  22. Absence of canteen
  23. Lake of appropriate residential facilities
  24. 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.