Safety and health in underground coalmines

This new code, which reflects the many changes in the industry, its workforce, the roles of the competent authorities, employers, workers and their organizations, and on the development of new ILO instruments on occupational safety and health, focuses on the production of coal from underground mines. The original code of practice on safety and health in coalmines was adopted by the Governing Body in 1986. Surface mining is covered by the code of practice, Safety and health in opencast mines (1991). This code of practice is based on principles established in international instruments relevant to the protection of workers' safety and health.

Code of practice | 13 May 2006
The first two chapters deal with the objectives and application of the code. The next two chapters address, within a national framework, the responsibilities, duties and rights of the competent authority, the labour inspectorate, employers, workers and their organizations, suppliers, manufacturers and designers, and contractors, and occupational safety and health (OSH) management systems and services and OSH reporting.

Part II of the code provides for a methodology for identifying hazards and addressing risks.

Part III of the code addresses various hazards that commonly exist in the production of coal from underground mines - from dust, explosions, fires and water inrushes to electrical hazards, machinery and hazards on the surface. Each section describes hazards, assesses risk and provides guidance on eliminating or controlling risk. It also covers the proper design and maintenance of coalmines and transport, competence and training, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency preparedness, and special protection and hygiene issues.

The annexes include information drawn from relevant ILO instruments on workers' health surveillance, surveillance of the working environment and on establishing an OSH management system. As these instruments are updated, the references to them in electronic versions of this code will be adjusted accordingly. There is also information on exposure limits.