Meeting of Experts on Safety and Health in Coal Mines

The Meeting of experts (composed of 23 Worker, Employer and Government experts from the following countries: Australia, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, the United States and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) reviewed a draft and adopted a code of practice to improve the safety and health in underground coalmines.

The resulting code of practice replaces an existing code adopted in 1986 and reflects the changes that have taken place in the industry over the past 20 years (eg. privatization, consolidation and further mechanization), as well as changes to the ILO’s approach to drafting codes of practice.

As is the case for all other codes of practice, its practical recommendations are intended for the use of all those, in both the public and the private sector, who have responsibility for OSH management in relation to specific occupational hazards, sectors of activity, or equipment. The code is not intended to replace national laws or regulations or accepted standards, but provides guidance to those who may be engaged, through social dialogue, in the framing of provisions or to elaborate programmes of prevention or protection at the national or enterprise level. It provides important practical guidance in support of the provisions of the Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No.176).

The code sets out a national framework that specifies the roles of the competent authorities, employers, workers and their organizations. It also comprises a methodology for identifying hazards, preventing and minimizing risks, as well as specific provisions for safe underground coalmining operations. These specific provisions address most of the currently identified hazards and risks associated with underground coalmining.