Experts Welcome Safe Evacuation But Call For Lessons To Be Learned
By Rob Dixon
Workplace injury specialists have welcomed the efforts made to safely evacuate more than 90 workers from an underground mine at Daw Mill Colliery on Friday (February 22nd), but urged that lessons can be learned to prevent similar problems in the future.
UK Coal has confirmed that 92 workers were initially evacuated in line with standard emergency procedures after a “major fire” broke out at the site in Warwickshire, but the increasing severity of the problems meant all remaining miners were then evacuated hours later.
The company which manages the site stressed there was no risk to those living near to the mine, which is now expected to be out of operation for in the region of three to six months.
A core team remains on the scene and it is thought that the incident may have put the mine’s future in doubt.
David Urpeth, Partner and national head of workplace injury at Irwin Mitchell, has vast experience in acting for workers who have suffered serious injuries as a result of major industrial incidents, as well as residents living closeby to the site of major fires.
Reacting to the incident, he said: “This fire is clearly a cause for concern but a huge amount of credit must go to UK Coal and its employees for ensuring the safe evacuation of more than 100 miners working in the underground area.
“The consequences of this fire could have been much worse and this is an incident which demonstrates the importance for employers to not only have emergency procedures in place, but also ensure they are followed when the time is right.
“A priority at this stage is now ensuring that the mine is fit for purpose and completely safe, but attention will then need to turn to investigating the cause of the incident and ensuring that a full picture of what happened can be pieced together.
“Any detail will be a vital step towards ensuring that lessons can be learned which will not only go towards preventing similar incidents but also lead to wider improvements in mining safety.
“The risks of work in mines are well-known and there are numerous incidents in the past which have had a major impact on a huge number of people. Health and safety must be maintained and regarded as the ultimate priority in this industry.”
Read more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise related to Accidents At Work