Probe opened into inspectors who gave Soma coal mine perfect score

Probe opened into inspectors who gave Soma coal mine perfect score

Probe opened into inspectors who gave Soma coal mine perfect score

Rescuers carry a miner who sustained injuries after a mine explosion, to an ambulance in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 14, 2014. REUTERS Photo

Authorities are launching an investigation into two inspectors who gave the Soma coal mine a perfect score before the May 13 disaster that claimed the lives of 301 workers, Labor Inspection Committee head Mehmet Tezel said May 27.

The probe could be expanded, Tezel added one day after a daily Hürriyet report revealed that one of the inspectors was the brother-in-law of a senior executive of the Soma coal company.

Three officials have been working on the subject, Tezel said, adding all administrative sanctions will be applied if something wrong is detected in the investigation.

The council will permit an official investigation required by prosecutors if negligence is found, Tezel said.
“However, there cannot be a link between the inspection and a work-related accident technically. An accident can happen at a mine that was evaluated positively [regarding work safety] today, and then conditions are different tomorrow,” he said. “The important thing is that the work establishment should conduct internal regulations well and work to examine the accidents.”

A group of 16 officials from Labor Inspection Committee has been working in Soma to search every claim and complaint, Tezel added.

Labor chief inspector Emin Gümüş last inspected the mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa on March 13, 14, 17 and 18. Noting that 2,948 people were working in the mine, including 2,938 who were identified in the inspection as working “very dangerous” jobs, Gümüş reported that “no shortcomings were found in the scheduled inspection.”

Gümüş is married to the sister of Hayri Kebapçılar, the project and studies manager of the Soma mine.

Gümüş was commissioned by the Labor and Social Security Ministry to inspect the Soma mine again after the deadly accident, but he was withdrawn after rumors about his familial relations with the mine manager were exposed.