Pakistan's mines have killed at least 150
workers this year
The deadly accident in a coal mine in
Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on 30
November was not a stand-alone incident.
Nine workers were killed and four others
sustained critical injuries in a gas blast,
adding to the already alarming death toll in
the country’s mining industry.
According to data compiled by IndustriALL
Global Union, unsafe mining in Pakistan has
claimed the lives of more than 150 workers
and injured more than 20 others this year
Most accidents are caused by mine collapses,
gas leaks, and flooding. Mining continued
throughout the disastrous rains that struck
the country earlier this year, killing
numerous workers. Unregistered mines and
unregulated work further add to the
hazardous working environment.
Miners work in dangerous conditions that
lack proper warning systems to alert workers
of gas leaks or flooding. With only a dim
light affixed to their helmets, miners are
forced to work in almost complete darkness.
Effective supervision is also lacking at
mining sites, and workers receive little to
no training on safety precautions to take in
an emergency. And as there is no proper
attendance register, it is unclear how many
workers are present in the mine when
The law requires one doctor and an ambulance
at each mining site, but this is not
implemented, and several deaths occur on the
way to hospitals. In case of death or
serious injuries, workers’ families do not
receive adequate compensation.
Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL south Asia
regional secretary, says: “Neither the
employers nor the government are enforcing
adequate safety measures at mining sites.
Most of the time, miners are dying in
accidents that can be prevented by
While safety mechanisms are not being
enforced at the workplace, occupational
diseases are neglected even further.
Silicosis, lung fibrosis, lung cancer,
asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other
debilitating diseases frequently result in
death or permanent disability.
It is challenging for workers to access
healthcare because of their extremely low
wages and lack of social protection.
Employers take no responsibility to provide
care and treatment to these workers.
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general
secretary, says: “The Pakistani government
must ratify ILO C176 immediately and fulfil
its responsibility towards providing workers
engaged in mining with a safer workplace.
The government must effectively implement
the safety to protect miners’ lives.”