Opposition puts safe rooms in workplace security package

Opposition puts safe rooms in workplace security package

Opposition puts safe rooms in workplace security package

DHA Photo

A resolution which gives the Labor Ministry the authority to make it necessary for mine companies to build safe rooms has been put into a workplace security package with the efforts of Turkey’s opposition parties.

Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik was in dialogue with the opposition parties late April 2 in an effort to accelerate the work on a workplace security package. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies then told Çelik they want the safe rooms to be in the package. After two-and-a-half hours of discussions and the insistence of opposition parties, the resolution was added to the package.

The necessity of safe rooms in mines was discussed after the country’s worst mine disaster in May 13, 2014, which killed 301 miners at a mine in the Soma district of the Aegean province of Manisa.

“A regulation, which will be enforced by the ministry, will regulate the procedures and principles over the technical features of these safe rooms, as well as the criteria of which mines will have safe rooms.

These technical features will be determined based on national and international standards,” said the proposal. Minister Çelik said he was pleased with the consensus from all the groups in parliament over the issue.

CHP Manisa deputy Özgür Özel recalled during the meetings that safe rooms had saved the lives of Chilean miners trapped under ground for 69 days.

“The first question that came to our minds was whether the mine in Soma had a safe room when the accident took place on May 13 [2014]. Now with the rightful insistence of the Republican People’s Party, we have come to this point. We believe these steps are not enough but still good,” said Özel.

MHP deputy group chair Oktay Vural said they made a positive contribution to this regulation.

Turkey was hit by its biggest-ever mining accident on May 13, 2014, when a fire broke out inside the Soma mine, resulting in the death of 301 miners. Only six months after the accident in Soma, a mine in the Central Anatolian province of Konya’s Ermenek district was flooded by water which had built up in an old, unused mining gallery. The bodies of the 18 miners killed in the accident were still being found two months after the accident.