Russia’s mine disaster, and the global problem of workplace safety

A mass disaster in Russia leaves 157 dead. It’s coal mining accidents that plague the world.

Mine safety in Russia is part of a typical workweek in the country, and about 100 workers died on the job last year. China, India and North Korea also have deaths rates higher than the U.S. in coal mining.

Safety barriers at the Sochi mine where the latest mine accident happened–it started an hour later–needed to be replaced regularly, according to the local labor minister.

A spotlight on mines around the world

When it comes to poisoning miners, there’s no cause for celebration. A single grain of uranium dioxide in a mine can kill a miner. In the Ukraine, anywhere from 30 to 80 people die every year in a Russian-operated black coal mine.

No one is being held accountable, according to the coroner.

In Kazakhstan, miners should know how to manually defuse large explosives. But most Kazakh miners still haven’t been trained on their hands and knees on how to safely do it. With these dangerous techniques used to feed men’s livelihoods, this is how these miners die.

A public backlash

Though the Russian government and country’s mining industry were quick to state that the coal mining in Russia was under control, there were calls for safety measures. The higher production and work levels are definitely needed in Russia to provide the much-needed jobs.

But a government investigation has pointed out that many mines were violating the rules. Some of the violations, according to BBC News, are confusing mine safety with hazardous conditions: Unpaid quotas for mines are illegal, so two mining cooperatives approved by the government neglected to issue people for their wages.

The Russians are also not using their own safety inspectors, which caused many accidents at mines in the past.

Billions are being invested in new coal mining industry throughout the world. But looking at the cause behind this tragedy in Russia, many are calling for mining safety regulations in all countries to be strictly enforced.

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