Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that safety of mine workers is highest priority of Government while inaugurating 12th National Conference on Safety in Mines today. He said that Ministry has introduced Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH) Code in Parliament which has made provisions for annual health check up of mine workers and safety standards for all the sectors including Mines, Factory and Construction.He further said that mining sector gives employment to almost 10 lakh people and contribute around 2.6 percent to the GDP of the nation. He expressed hope that this conference will come out with relevant suggestions regarding safety of workers for continuously changing scenario of mines after globalization. Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment Shri Heeralal Samariya said that Mining sector contributes significantly in development of various industries as it provides raw material required for them. Workers are Backbone of this industry and their safety can not be compromised.Mining is one of the most hazardous industry and miners has to go deep inside the earth so safety standards of mines should be of global standard. He further said that this Conference should be held every year so that latest technologies for electrical safety, appropriate machinery, role of IT for the safety of mines and workers may be discussed and adopted. He expressed hope that problems of mining sector will be discussed at length with all the stakeholders and relevant policy guidelines and suggestions will emerge from the exercise.
National Conference was first started in the year 1958 following a disaster (explosion) in Chinakuri Colliery in Eastern India and subsequently ten more Conference were held. Many recommendations of the Conference have been absorbed in statute, whereas some have been incorporated in management’s safety policies and practices. National Conference is the highest tripartite forum at the national level for deliberation on issues connected with safety and health in mines.Ms. Kalpana Rajsinghot,Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment and R. Subramanian, Director General, DGMS also expressed their views on the occasion.Ms. Sibani Swain, Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the mining companies as employers’ representatives, the leaders of Central Trade Unions as workers’ representatives, representatives of the Central and State Governments, Professional Institutions and Associations and Academic and Research Institutes participated in the Conference.The two day Conference (28-29 January) will review the status of safety in mining and adequacy of existing measures in improving working conditions in mines in a spirit of mutual cooperation. In this changing perspective, important issues like “OSH issues of contractual workers-strategy to improve safety status”, “Strategies for disaster prevention in coal mines”, “Electrical safety- Recent trends- strategy for improvement”, “Role of Information technology in mining sector”, “Prevalence of Pneumoconiosis/Silicosis amongst Workers, Present Status of Dust Control Measures and Strategy for Improvement” etc. are going to be deliberated in two days.It is expected that after detailed deliberations the Conference will come out with important recommendations suggesting measures for further improvement in safety, welfare and health of mine workers of the country.