Global Issue Essay

Words: 1350
Pages: 6

Jonas Houseright
MinE 4554
February 22, 2011

Safety and Health Issues in the China Coal Mining Industry

The country of China is a world juggernaut in the industry of coal mining. China alone produces roughly one-third of the world economy’s coal. This is largely due to the industrial revolution that has been taking place in China over the past decade which requires a very high energy demand, but being on top of the world production of coal has come with a colossal price. Not only is China leading the world in production for coal, but it also leads the world in coal mining related fatalities. The death toll in China coal mines over the past decade has accounted for nearly 80% of the total deaths related to coal miners around
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This contract system as fallacies in itself but this can also fall back on the lack of unbiased representation by the government. (Bone and Blood 13) In an interview with the spokesman of the State Administration of Work Safety in China, Huang Yi, he brought up another issue which was the use of migrant workers in the mines. He said that the lack of training for migrants help to add to the potential for mining disasters. There are approximately 5.5 million coal miners in China, and about half of them are migrant workers. Due to the lack of training of the migrant workers, it not only puts them at a higher risk but everyone that is working with them every day in the mines. (Jie) Even with all these issues, the most alarming one might be the complete disregard of the workers. It has been reported in many instances that the managers of the mines had known about dangerous situations and potential for an explosion before the workers ever went underground to work. In some instances the managers had the safety personnel to tamper with and change alarm levels. These alarms are in place to let the workers know that an explosive level of gas is detected so they can evacuate the mine. With the alarms tampered with the readout would not be true and the alarm will not sound as it should to alert the workers, which can result in a methane ignition causing a huge disaster. In some cases the