Occupational fatalities among coal mine workers in Zonguldak, Turkey, 1994-2003

Forensic Medicine Department, Afyon Kocatepe University School of Medicine, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey.
Occupational Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.47). 04/2006; 56(2):144-6. DOI: 10.1093/occmed/kqj023
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fatal underground coal mine injuries are a worldwide problem. Zonguldak holds 95% of all Turkey's coal reserves.
To investigate fatalities in the underground coal-mining industry in the Zonguldak province.
Retrospective study of fatal underground coal-mining accidents from 1994 to 2003 through evaluation of industry records.
There were 164 deaths available for analysis. The median age was 36 years (range: 14-56 years). Eighty-one fatalities (49%) were due to subsidence, 33 (20%) were due to underground railway accidents and 18 (11%) were due to gas poisoning. Asphyxia was the most common cause of death (99, 60%). The majority of fatalities (144, 87%) occurred instantaneously at the scene of the incident. The remainder (20, 13%) occurred on the way to the hospital or in the emergency room or the intensive care unit.
The underground coal-mining industry in Turkey requires strategies to improve safety and reduce the number of fatalities occurring. These strategies should focus on improved underground safety through engineering measures.

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