Letter: Safety standards in British Coal mines

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The Independent Online
Sir: A. J. P. Dalton (letter, 10 December) raises a number of points about safety in mines, and in particular suggests a deterioration of standards in recent years. This is not the case. The all-accident rate has reduced from 27.27 per 100,000 man-shifts in 1989-90 to 17.83 in the first eight months of the current financial year. Similarly, the fatality rate over the same period has reduced from 0.09 to 0.01 per 100,000 man-shifts.

British Coal is committed to providing the safest possible environment for its employees. We have and will continue to implement new techniques and working systems only when they are safe. Rock-bolting, which is used world- wide, is now used throughout British mines, including sites where they are in use as primary support with the approval of the Chief Inspector of Mines.

Extensive studies by British Coal have established that there is no evidence that working longer shifts would adversely affect safety.

Yours faithfully,

M. WIDDAS

Head of Safety - Mine Environment and Legislation

British Coal Corporation

Eastwood,

Nottingham

10 December

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