Mine disaster could have been prevented if company conducted drill check, inspector says
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL
AA PhotoThe disaster that hit a mine in the Turkish province of Karaman, where 18 workers remain trapped underground, could have been prevented if the company had taken the necessary measures after repeated warnings, according to an inspector who directed the most recent inspection at the mine.
Inspector Erdoğan Şeker told daily Radikal that the company running the coal mine facility, Has Şekerler, was warned three months ago that a drilling process should be conducted to determine the mine’s distance from underground waters, as well as from possible galleries previously used by other mining companies.
The accident could have been prevented if the company had taken the warning seriously and conducted the drill, Şeker said.
“Of course it could have been prevented. I cannot say 100 percent, but it was possible,” he said.
Wall thickness should be measured and checked at regular intervals by mine officials, who have detailed maps of the underground galleries, Şeker said, adding that the necessary drills had never been conducted at the Karaman mine.
He said such an accident had never happened in the region before, which may be why the company did not foresee the possibility of such an accident taking place.
Inspectors at the mine reportedly also detected that the miners did not have special boots with steel toes that should be provided by the employer, and were instead working in their own shoes.
According to Şeker, an administrative fine of 9,000 Turkish Liras was given to the company due to the lack of safety measures. He added that there was no justification for the closure of the mine at the time.