A leading law firm has warned that the disastrous explosion in a Turkish coal mine, killing more than 200 miners, should serve as a stark reminder of how crucial health and safety regulations are to the safety of mine workers and all workers.
There were 787 people inside the mine at Soma in Turkey’s Manisa province when the explosion, thought to have been caused by an electrical fault, occurred.
The tragedy in Turkey comes at a time when the UK government under the guise of ‘cutting red-tape’ is consulting on health and safety in UK mines, proposing to completely replace all existing mine legislation with a single, new guidance document. However, there are major concerns around how health and safety would be improved, or even maintained at current standards if this change took place.
Anthony Welsh of Thompsons Solicitors who is representing men injured in the last mine disaster in the UK – at Gleison Collery in South Wales - said: “The events in Turkey are devastating and my thoughts are with those above and below ground at this time. It is a reminder of the dangers mine workers face on a daily basis and should cause the UK government, which seems hell-bent on watering down vital health and safety regulations in as many sectors as possible, including mining, to take stock and review their obsession with so called ‘red tape’.
“Any changes to regulations should improve safety in mines rather than reduce it. If we are to avoid a similar disaster happening in the UK the current proposals should go back to the drawing board.”
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