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Mine rescuers' world conference is trying to find recipes for safe mining

Ostrava (24 September 2009) – Safe coal mining and safe extraction of other minerals coupled with a rapid rescue facility in case of mining accidents – these are the pivotal topics dealt with at the conference attended by as many as 160 mine rescue specialists hailing from 20 countries. Following a visit on Monday to the Central Mine Rescue Station (Czech abbreviation, HBZS) at Ostrava-Radvanice and a ride down the Darkov Mine shaft, the participants in the 4th International Mines Rescue Body (IMRB) conference, which is the official designation of the event, continue their deliberations in Hradec nad Moravicí.


The central idea of this – already fourth – world meeting of mine rescuers as well as the reason underlying the foundation of the IMRB has been the enhancement of safety of mine staff working underground. OKD Corporation, ranking among the leaders in the area of safety at work, shares the committed to these priorities. This is why the OKD Corporation's safety programme has gained enthusiastic acceptance among the participants in the event.  „Last year we have launched our Safety 2010 programme. Thanks to the programme, all miners will be provided with new sets of working aids – all the way from work boots and mining clothes up to self-rescue devices – by 2010. Equally, we are modernising noxious gas detector and other devices and equipment. We believe our investment to the tune of half a billion Czech korunas will be reflected in a reduced incidence of accidents at work,“ said OKD Corporation's CEO and Chairman of the Board Klaus-Dieter Beck one of the guests of honour who have ceremoniously opened the international conference. During the first half of this year the incidence of accidents at work at OKD was reduced by approximately one fifth compared to the same period of 2008.


„Even though the conditions are different in different countries the rescuers worldwide strive towards a single objective – the highest possible safety and the best possible results of their interventions. It is of great importance to all of us to be able to review in detail the various situations that can be encountered by mine rescues while exercising their challenging profession. It will help us take better decisions in such situations, and thus to increase the rate of success of our operations,“ said at the very outset of the meeting its chief organiser Václav Pošta, General Manager of the Ostrava Central Mine Rescue Station.


During the course of the international forum, specialists from all corners of our planet have been exchanging and sharing knowledge and experience in the area of mining rescue and life-saving activities. The conference is mainly intended for mine rescuers, mine safety specialists and professionals from research institutes, universities and mining companies active in hard coal and brown coal extraction as well as in mining for copper and other minerals.


Effectiveness of rescue and life-saving interventions underground has been the principal professional topic discussed. For example, rescuers who fought the fire that broke out in 2004 at the Warnt/Luisenthal mine in Germany have presented their experience from a successful operation. However, discussions have also focused on the creation of an international network concerned with safety and health-at-work issues (modelled after OSHA/ISSA active in the U.S.) or on dealing with specific emergencies and accidents from the Australian perspective. The captivating presentation by Wang Deuxe, Deputy Minister of Work Safety of the Chinese Administration, was concerned with legislative measures tailored to upgrade safety at Chinese mines considered to rank among the most dangerous world-wide, while that by David G. Turcotte from the U.S. was focused on outlining novel methods employed in the building and organisation of rescue stations.


„This is an important meeting because we can learn the best ways of saving miners in situations of crisis, and also what techniques and technologies are used by our colleagues from other countries. I've been fascinated above all by the presentation on Monday of the mine rescue technology. In my opinion the equipment available to the conference organisers' rescue station counts among the best world-wide,“ said one of the conference delegates – Debdulal Baidya, Rescue Station Manager from Singareni, India.


„ We don't have many opportunities for face-to-face exchange of experience, this is why this meeting is of so much benefit to all of us. I'd like to congratulate the organisers for the high standard of the conference.“ was the immediate comment shared by Alex Gryska, Rescue Station Manager from Ontario, Canada.


Today the entire Rescuers' symposium will move to Prague where it will conclude its accompanying programme. During the next weekend the participants will board planes to destinations in their respective home countries, to re-convene again in 2011 – for this once, in China.


Ing. Zuzana Koláriková


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