Charity to share workplace safety

AN Australian charity will be distributing 40,000 mine safety comic books to coal mine workers in Southern China over the next six months in an attempt to help reduce fatalities.
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OSHAID cartoon describing water inrush to Chinese mine workers

Staff Reporter

OSHAID International, an Australian charity, was established in June to facilitate the transfer of basic occupational health and safety information to countries such as China, which has the world’s most appalling safety record in coal mining.

“There were significant needs in many developing countries like China for increasing awareness of occupational health and safety among many minority groups who had little appreciation of occupational safety,” said group founder John Ninness.

During visits to a number of developing economies, Ninness said he recognised there was another world out there that simply accepted fatalities and injuries as being the norm.

“I recognized that we come from a privileged culture where we simply don’t accept losing one of our workmates.”

The magazines will be distributed in cooperation with the China Coal Information Institute, and provide basic information to mine workers in relation to gas explosions, dust, electrical equipment and rescue.

“We have several other projects that we are seeking support for. The need is quite large and the difficulty is knowing where to begin,” Ninness said.

“The good news is that if we can save one life or mitigate one occupational disease it will be all worthwhile.

“We need the support and cooperation of Australian and international safety professionals to make this happen. However, I am confident that we can make a difference,” he said.

OSHAID will also work with the ILO in Beijing on a number of projects.

Its primary goals are to translate basic safety information into a range of foreign languages and distribute this information to places like small villages relying on a particular working activity to sustain livelihood.

The group also aims to help in the development of industry codes of practice or standards and sponsor students from third world countries to participate in international study opportunities, conferences or work opportunities.