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Kazakhstan: IndustriALL demands safety improvements after three killed at ArcelorMittal

1 September, 2017Three workers were killed and another three seriously injured on 31 August at JSC ArcelorMittal Temirtau’s Kazakhstanskaya mine in the Karaganda region of Kazakhstan. 

IndustriALL mourns the victims of the coalmine explosion and joins the Mineworkers’ Union of Korgau to demand that the coalmine administration improves health and safety standards.

The Miners' Union of Korgau at ArcelorMittal Temirtau is affiliated to IndustriALL through the Trade Union of Workers of Mining and Metallurgical Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

136 workers were underground at a depth of 600 meters when the accident occurred due to a methane explosion. Three workers were at the site of the accident; their bodies were found by rescuers and brought to the surface. Another three injured workers have been hospitalized, and remain in a serious condition. Another miner is undergoing outpatient treatment.

The mine stopped operation and staff began procedures for de-gassing the mine, as the gas concentration in the mine was 70 per cent instead of the allowed 4 per cent. Such conditions greatly complicated the rescuers’ work.

A special commission has been formed to investigate the accident. It includes representatives of the trade union, the administration of the mine, the state emergency department, the department of industrial safety and the Ministry of Labour of Kazakhstan.

Currently, the union is communicating with relatives of the victims to find out what financial assistance they need. Then the union will negotiate financial assistance with the administration, since it is not part of the collective agreement.

The chair of the Mineworkers’ Union Korgau at ArcelorMittal Temirtau, Marat Mirgayazov stated:

“Our trade union is constantly talking to the management about the general fact that the technical equipment at the mine is lagging behind the Russian and Ukrainian mines. Besides, there is a lack of staff at the Kazakhstanskaya mine of 400 workers that also affects health and safety. It is also important to train employees and improve their skills.”

IndustriALL participates in a Joint Global Health and Safety Committee with ArcelorMittal, which is focused on ensuring high health and safety standards at the company’s mining and steel operations around the globe.

IndustriALL general secretary, Valter Sanches, wrote in his letter to the president of the Trade Union of Mining & Metallurgy Workers of Republic of Kazakhstan Asylbek Nuralin:

“We demand that JSC ArcelorMittal Temirtau, which operates as a subsidiary of Arcelor Mittal, adopt stringent health and safety measures in the Kazakhstanskaya mine. Furthermore, IndustriALL Global Union will contact ArcelorMittal immediately to remind the company of its obligations under the Joint Global Health and Safety Committee.”