The Georgian Public Defender has called on the government to introduce workplace safety monitoring mechanism after two workers died in manganese mine in Chiatura on August 13.
Two miners died after groundwater gushed into the pit during drilling, according to the Metallurgical, Mining, Chemical Industry Workers Trade Union, which put blame for the incident on mine operator company, claiming that workers were sent into mine without prior proper hydro-geological study of the site.
According to the Georgian Manganese, which owns the mine, the investigation is ongoing to find out reasons behind the incident. The Georgian Manganese is wholly owned by Georgian American Alloy, which also owns a ferroalloy plant in Zestaponi and Vartsikhe hydropower plant, which provides electricity to both the plant and the mine.
One miner died after an explosion in the manganese mine in Chiatura on July 15.
Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, said in a written statement on August 14 that occupational fatalities are on rise in Georgia since 2007, picking in 2010 and 2011 to 42 and 54 fatalities, respectively; no data are yet available for 2012.
“Death of workers in Itkhvisi mine of Chiatura on August 13, 2013 demonstrates once again the need from the Georgian government to timely undertake concrete and efficient measures for the purpose of securing workplace safety,” the Public Defender said.
He called on the government to introduce in the nearest future effective state monitoring mechanism of workplace safety, for example such as labor inspectorate, which was abolished in 2006.