One of the country’s largest mining companies has been convicted for the fi fth time in less than a year in relation to health and safety failures at its worksites. The latest conviction sees the company fi ned £418,000 following the death of a pit worker in Yorkshire. The prosecution is one in a number of proceedings relating to fatalities seen at the company’s sites since 2006. There were four separate fatal incidents in 2006 and 2007, followed by another four fatalities in the years that followed. Furthermore, in 2010 a major explosion occurred at one of the company’s mines. HSE investigations into a number of these incidents are still ongoing.
Despite signifi cant reductions in the number of operational mines in the UK, these incidents only serve to highlight the importance of continued health and safety focus in this hazardous area. A paper written by HSE offi cials to the HSE Board earlier this year noted that the potential for catastrophic accidents remains, despite a great improvement in working conditions over the past thirty years.
It is anticipated that another paper will be presented to the Board early next year which will take the form of a consultative document for the consolidation of mining legislation. Currently, there are 49 specifi c pieces of legislation that relate to the regulation of health and safety in underground coal mining. Following proposals made by Professor Löfstedt in his 2011 report, an update and consolidation of the regulatory rules for mining as well as the associated Approved Codes of Practice is expected.