Mine Safety

Published on Author andrews

While watching the movie in class today I found several points interesting. The topic of interest which struck me most was the lack of concern for the physical health of the mine employees. The orator of the movie failed to comment on employer concern for employees exposure to respiratory coal dust which can cause pulmonary disease as well as the miners’ heightened exposure to conditions that cause silicosis. Aside from these risks, miners are also subject to the obvious risks of injury and even death associated with working within the mine. Given the corporations concerning with the mining families and childrens’ education I do not think it plausible that the company is not concerned with  mine employee health, but I do find it interesting that I did not hear it mentioned.

3 Responses to Mine Safety

  1. I found this interesting too. I imagine that in village or town level enterprises, employers would have worried about employee safety (or at least worried about the dangers that were known to employees at the time of filming), however, at larger enterprises like Datong and at enterprises that employ many migrant workers, the safety regulations were probably more relaxed.

    I also think the attitude about modernization that many people had at the time may have played a significant role in a lack of work-related health and safety regulations. In the movie, the people said ‘modernization is just something that has to be achieved,’ and with an attitude like that, I imagine people would have been willing to sacrifice their health for a job.

    Nevertheless, the environment seems to have changed since the time of this film. Below is an article from yesterday 2/25, talking about the decline in (on site) mining deaths despite an increase in production.

  2. Being concerned and being able to do something about it are different issues. Underground coal mining is inherently dangerous, and the entire community’s existence depends on maintaining production. Read up on the history of West Virginia…

  3. Underground coal mining is inherently dangerous, but the measures taken to help those in places such as Virginia and West Virginia are currently well beyond what appears to be the norm in China. Speaking from personal experience working in a slate mine a few years ago, the mining regulators and EPA do a lot to make sure that safety is a priority – potentially overdoing it at times.