Accidents in mining industry in Turkey

Category Mine
Group GSI.IR
Location 20th WORLD MINING CONGRESS 2005
Author Gündüz ضkten* Abdullah Fi؛ne
Holding Date 14 January 2006
               
 
ABSTRACT
 
Turkey is one of the most important countries in terms of the mine diversity and mine resources. It has considerable reserves of boron, marble, trona; thorium, zeolit and pumice, despite mineral explorations have been insufficient in last two decades. In addition, Turkey has also important reserves of chrome, magnesia, feldspar, barite and coal. However, economical indicators have shown that contribution of mining industry in economy has decreased year by year. The ratio of mining production into the Gross National Product (GNP) is about 1.7 %.Mining is one of the most dangerous and difficult works in the world. Therefore, accidents and occupational illnesses are important problems in the mining industry. 76.668 accidents occurred in the year of 2003 and total 811 people were died. The mining and quarrying industries are in the fourth rank after the metal production, constructions and cotton fabric industries in terms of number of accidents. However, mining and quarrying industries are in the first rank considering the number of injured workers. Another important fact is that 5647 of total 6287 accidents recorded in mining and quarrying industries occurred in coal mining. The factors playing an important role in occurring of accidents are related to worker inattentiveness, inconvenient working conditions, and lack of control, education and complexity of legal arrangements.
Key words:  Mining Industry, Accident, Causes of Accidents, Prevention of Accidents
 
 

INTRODUCTION
 
Accident is an event that has harmful effects on its environment, appears instantaneously and it can not be planned in the beginning. While the rapid technological developments serve generally human comfort, it can also be hazardous for the environment and human life. In the 20th century, growing industrialization and advanced production techniques increased industrial accidents and occupational illnesses resulting in death and disability.
 
It is stated in the publications of International Work Organization that 1.2 million people have lost their life each year in the world because of the industrial accidents and occupational illnesses. According to the same references, each year 250 million and 160 million people suffer from industrial accidents and occupational illnesses, respectively.
 
It is also stated in the same references that total cost of industrial accidents and occupational illnesses in the developed countries vary from % 1 and % 3 of the total budgets of these countries.
 
This cost is higher especially for the developing countries. It is estimated that total cost of industrial accidents and occupational illnesses in Turkey is about 3 billion US$ annually (http://isggm.calisma.gov.tr/sskistatistik.asp).
 
Mining is one of the most dangerous and difficult works even in the developed countries. Because of the working conditions and nature of the work, safety and health problems occur during the mining activities. These problems cause industrial accidents and occupational illnesses resulting in death and disability of workers.
 
GENERAL OVERIEW OF TURKISH MINING INDUSTRY
 
Turkey has a vast and diverse mineral resource base as a result of its geological structure. Although there isn’t any further exploration in the last 20 years, Turkey has a substantial mineral resources in terms of boron, marble; trona, thorium, zeolit and pumice. In addition to these, Turkey's most significant resources are chrome, magnesite, barite, clay, coal; gold and silver (Table 1).
 
MINERAL RESERVES AND CONTRIBUTION OF MINING TO ECONOMY
 
Turkey is in the 28th and 10th ranks between 132 countries in the world in terms of the total mine production and variety of produced minerals respectively.
 
Minerals produced in Turkey are used as raw material in industry and construction sectors.  Boron, marble, pumice, sodium feldspar are generally export minerals of Turkey.
 
It is stated that the total economical value of mineral resources of Turkey is about 2.9x1012 US$ (Yıldız, 2002). The Turkish mining sector produced 53 different minerals and total mine production was 150 million tons in the year of 2002. It is seen that the contribution of mining to economy has decreased year by year in comparison with the growth rate of Gross National Product (GNP). The contribution of mining production to GNP was about 1.1 % in 2002.  The exportation of mining has reached to 850 million US$ and the contribution of marble exportation was about 430 million US$ in the same year (Güler, 2004).
 
MINERAL TYPE
World (**)x10^3 ton
Turkey,x10^3 ton
Boron, (B2O3)
***1.275.000
***803000
Magnesite
***2.594.000
***44.059
Lignite
512.000.000
****8.375.000
Bituminous Coal
****519.000.000
****428.000
Trona
*24.000.000
*200.000
Chrome
*3.600.000
**26.000
Barites
***583.000
***24.000
Iron
*140.000.000
**150.000
Copper
*340.000
**6.800
Bauxite
*25.000.000
**62.000
Gold
*48
0.250
Strontium
**13.350
**1.000
Feldspar
***1.250.000
***12.342
Phosphate
***129.860.000
***424.000
References:
*       Mineral Commodity Summaries 2002,
**     Turkish 1. Mining Assembly 1990
***   Industrial Minerals, by Yüksel ضnem 2000,
**** Turkish 1. Energy Assembly1988
 
Table 1: Mineral Reserves in Turkey and World
 
ACCIDENTS IN MINING INDUSTRY
 
Mining is one of the most dangerous works in accordance with its nature, so it needs knowledge, experience and continuous control. Subsidence, gas and dust explosion and fires cause great problems, lost of life and goods especially in underground coal mining.  Accidents occurred during the slope sliding, rock block fallings from slopes, usage of blasting material and working machines are first place in open pit mining.
 
Accidents occurred in Turkish mining industry have continued to its currency in spite of the technological developments. According to statistics prepared by Turkish Social Insurance Association (SIA) in 2003, total number of mandatory insured workers is 5.615.238 and 4.448.499 of this is man workers. Total 76.668 accidents occurred in the year of 2003 and 811 person were lost their life. The metal production (9.682), constructions (8.198) and cotton fabric (7.382) industries are in the first three ranks in terms of number of accidents. Coal mining follows these with 5.647 accidents. In addition to these, 242 accidents occurred in mines other than coal and 398 accidents occurred in quarrying, clay and sand mining. Underground mining (RAF = 61,8) is in the first rank making an investigation taken into account the ratio of accident frequency [RAF = (the number of annual accident / the number of total employee x 300 x 8) x 106].
 
The distributions of fatal accidents in mining industry are 54, 7 and 21 in coal, other than coal, and quarry, clay and sand
mining respectively.
 
According to the same statistics, the number of accidents resulted with the permanent incapacity to workers is 64 in coal mining, 11 other than coal, and 13 in quarry, clay and sand mining (http://www.ssk.gov.tr/wps/portal).
 
Turkey is in the first rank in the world in terms of fatal accidents in coal mining and in the second rank in the mines other than coal after Korea, and in the first rank in Europe according to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) data in last 10 years (Tekelioğlu, 2003).
 
DISTRIBUTION OF ACCIDENTS ACCORDING TO REASONS
 
The reasons of accidents occurred in mining industry can be summarized as below:
- Gas and dust explosion, poisons from gas,
- Subsidence, stone fallings,
- Transportation,
- Usage of explosive
- Machine and electric
- Material haulage and usage
- Other
Accidents resulted from subsidence, stone fallings and material transportation is in the first rank with the rate of 30 % in mining industry in Turkey. Accidents resulted from gas explosion and gas poisons have continued to be important from the caused lost point of view of although they are in the last rank.
 
DISTRIBUTION OF ACCIDENTS ACCORDING TO POSITIONS IN BODY
 
Accidents are classified based on the effected part of body such as head, hand and arm, body, foot and leg and the others.
It is seen in researches made in this subject that most of the accidents have occurred in part of hand and arm of body and this is followed by part of foot and leg of body (Graduate Projects, 1990 - 2001).
 
 
DISTRIBUTION OF ACCIDENTS ACCORDING TO GROUPS OF AGE
 
It is seen that the highest rate of accident with 65 % is in the workers between the ages of 25-35 when the distribution of accidents is investigated according to groups of age of insured workers in Turkey (http://www.ssk.gov.tr/wps/portal).  The most of the workers employed in underground coal mining in Turkey are in this age group and they generally work in the jobs which have high risk of accident such as digger, chocker, floorer etc. The rate of accident between the ages of 25-35 in mining industry is high because of these reasons and it is about 75 % (Graduate Projects, 1990 - 2001).
 
THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS BY THE MONTHS, DAYS OF WEEK AND WORKING-HOURS
 
When it is investigated according to the months, it is not seen an important difference in the number of accidents. However, the number of accidents is relatively lower in the summer months. The reason of this is that the most of the workers go to holiday in this time.
It is seen that there isn’t any difference between the day of Monday and Thursday in terms of the number of accident when it is looked at the distribution of accidents according to the days of week. However, accidents decrease in Saturday and Sunday because workers use their weekly holiday in these days and maintenance works are performed in Sundays. It was determined that accidents occurred generally in the beginning of the shift and end of the shift (Graduate Projects, 1990 - 2001).
 
CAUSES OF ACCIDENTS
 
The reasons of accidents encountered in mining sector are given below.
 
INSUFFICIENCY OF EDUCATION
 
Insufficiency of education related to the jobs made by workers increases the risk of accident. Education level of worker in mining industry is low. Therefore, the consciousness of health and safety has not adequately grown up. Mine workers can not adaptate adequately the rules and sanctions related with health and safety. In addition to these, it has generally not given the adaptation training and improvement training for the beginner workers and the others.
 
DEFICIENCY OF INSPECTION
 
Inspection task of mining activities in terms of the health and safety has been given the General Directorate of Mining Affairs by the Turkish Republic Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. However, it is not possible to adequately follow the number of 24.000 mine licence existed in Turkey by the General Directorate of Mining Affairs with the 230 of staff (CANDER, 2004).
 
It is stated in the Turkish Mining Law that mine production can be made by a mining engineer and size of mine that would be worked a mining engineer and working condition of mining engineer are determined by the Turkish Republic Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (Mining Law, 2004). Mining engineer is responsible to inspect the mine at least one time in 15 day according to current Mine Safety Rules and Regulation. However, this period is not enough to inspect the activities in terms of the health and safety.
 
LEGAL CONDITION
 
There are some legal rules related to subject of health and safety in many of the law, rule and regulation in Turkey. In recent years, relevant legal condition was renewed because of the adaptation necessity of the own laws to the laws of EU and ILO. Therefore, relevant law numbered 4857 and many regulations were come into force in the date of 10.06.2003. However, these couldn’t exactly manage the problems in the subject of health and safety. This makes the inspection difficult and slows down the application of the required precautions. Therefore, it is necessary to begin the studies to solve the problems encountered in the application.
 
LIMITED INVESTMENT
 
Mining is a risky occupation required large investment. However, most of the mining companies in Turkey are small - scale firms which have low capital. Mechanized production can not be made because of the limited investment and mining activities have carried out with traditional methods. Furthermore, the investments related to work safety is to be limited or never. The production made by limited financial possibilities cause accidents and environmental problems.
 
WORKING CONDITIONS
 
Mining is one of the most dangerous works in accordance with its nature. Limited volume of working area, insufficient lighting, noise and vibrations, dust, gas and high humidity cause some important problems such as tiredness, carelessness, slowing down the movement especially in underground mine workers. The employees worked in open pit mine are affected by dust, noise, insufficient lighting (in the night shift) and environmental factors like negative climate conditions
As a result of these, distrustful behaviours increased the risk of accidents and have been seen in mine workers.
 
INSUFFICIENT IMPORTANCE GIVEN SAFETY
 
Most of the mining enterprises have been worked with limited technical possibility and small number of workers. Making profit in short periods with little investment is the aim of such enterprises. Therefore, the subject of health and safety is in the second plan in such companies.
 
PRECAUTIONS FOR PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS
 
Investigations have shown that most of the accidents could be prevented. For this, following precautions must be put into practice as soon as possible and applied until reaching the targets.
·    Mining is one of the most dangerous works in accordance with its nature, so it needs knowledge, experience and continuous control. Therefore, required theoretical and practical training must be given for the beginner workers. Furthermore mine workers must be subjected to in-service training systematically by the expert foundations such as Turkey Hard Coal Enterprise, General Directorate of Turkish Coal, ETİ Mine Works General Management and private enterprises.
·    The General Directorate of Mining Affairs must be rebuilt to meet the requirements of mining industry
·    The number of mines that would be responsible by a mining engineer must be limited and inspection period must be shortened (Regulation of Engineering Supervision, 1969). 
·    Legal arrangements made in recent years because of the adaptation necessity of the own laws to the laws of EU and ILO were a bit useful. However, these couldn’t exactly remove the problems in the subject of health and safety. Therefore, it is necessary to begin the studies to solve the problems encountered in the application.
·    The mining industry has not attracted to required interest because of the requirement of big capital and risky investment. Additional investments must be performed to develop the conditions of working environment. The exploration activities should be encouraged and exemption and reduction of tax etc. should be provided for coming of capital to mining sector. The loans given to mining enterprises should be long time and low interest, and back payment should also be started after the mine is to be profitable (Eight Five–Year Development Plan, 2000).  
·    The main aim in the companies having low capital is realized the production with low cost. Therefore, the subject of health and safety is in second plan in such companies. Precautions have taken dependent on existed possibilities and knowledge and experience of the workers. Activities related to health and safety in mines must be checked by means of the working safety bureaus established in some cities in Turkey.
 
CONCLUSIONS
 
The subject of health and safety is an important issue, because accidents and occupational illnesses cause death and disability of people. The factors playing an important role in occurrence of the accidents must be removed to prevent such kind of problems.
 
The factors playing an important role in occurrence of accidents in Turkey are given below;
 
·    Insufficiency of education
·    Deficiency of inspection
·    Legal conditions
·    Limited investment
·    Working conditions
·    Insufficient importance given to safety.
The arrangements that would be made related to these factors will bring some extra financial cost. However, investigations have shown that the cost of activities made for increasing working safety lowers the direct and indirect cost of accidents.
 
REFERENCES
 
1.        Cander, Y. Speech of Mining Platform Assembly, Mining Development Foundation of Turkey, Istanbul, 30 January 2004.
 
2.        Eight Five–Year Development Plan, 285, pp. 117, Ankara, 2000.
 
3.        Graduate Projects, Made in Istanbul Technical University, Mining Engineering Department 1990 – 2001.
 
4.        Güler, M.H., Speech of Mining Platform Assembly, Mining Development Foundation of Turkey, Istanbul, 30 January 2004.
 
5.        Mert, R. V., “New Targets in Health and Safety, Employer Magazine, May, 2002.
 
6.        Mining Law, 05.06.2004 date and 25483 number, Official Paper.
 
7.        ضkten, G. (1994) “Accidents in Mining Industry, Causes, Recommendations” Health and Safety School II, TMMOB Chamber of Chemical Engineer, Istanbul.
 
8.        “Regulation of Engineering Supervision”19.02.1969 date and 13131 number Official Paper.”
 
9.        Rules and Regulations related to Health and Safety in Mines and Quarries. “22.10.1984 date and 18553 number Official Paper.”
 
10.     Tekelioğlu, M. Fundamental of Health and Safety” Seminar of Engineering Supervision and Engineering of Safety, Kozan Offset, 28 – 30 April, 2003, p.121.-144.
 
11.     Yıldız, N. (2002) “Mining Industry” Publication of Camber of Mining Engineer, July.
 
 

 

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