The mines act, 1952 which was enacted to amend and consolidate the law relating to the regulation of Lob our and safety in mines came into force with effect from July 1, 1952. The act extends to whole of India and it aims at providing for safe as well as proper working conditions in mines and certain amenities to the workers employed therein.
For the purpose of the act, a mines means any excavation where any operation for the purpose of searching for or obtaining minerals has been or is being carried on and includes, i) all borings, bore holes and oil wells. ii) All shafts, in or adjacent to and belonging to a mine whether in the course of being sunk or not. iii) all power stations for supply electricity solely for the purpose of working the mine or a number of mines under the same management; iv) conveyors or serial ropeways provided for the bringing into removal from a mine of minerals or other articles or for the removal of refuse there from; v) unless exempted by the central Government by the notification in the official gazette, any premises or part thereof, or adjacent to and belonging to a mine on which any process ancillary to the getting, dressing or preparation for sale of minerals or of coke is carried.
The provisions of the act, except those relating to powers of inspectors/other authorized persons, facilities to afforded to such persons, working hours for adolescents and employment of children and women do not apply to; (a) any mime or part thereof in excavation is being made for prospecting purposes only and not for the purpose of obtaining minerals for use or sale provided that not more than 20 persons are employed on one day, the depth of the excavation for coal,15 meters, and no part of such excavation extends below superjacent ground; and (b) any mine engaged in the extraction of kankar, Murrum, laterite boulder, gravel shingle, ordinary sand ( excluding moulding sand, glass-sand).
The act was amended in 1983 by the Mines (Amendment) Act, 1983 which received the assent of the president on the 25th December, 1983. According to the amended act no person below 18 years of age shall be allowed to work in any mine or part thereof. The amending act provides for entitlement for an alternative employment in the mine to the worker, found medically unfit which is directly ascribable to his employment. Keeping in view the greater hazards to which the underground workers are exposed, the present rate of one day for every 16 days of work performed for the calculation of annual leave with wages of person employed below ground in a mine has been modified to one day for every 15 days of work performed. Another new provision enables the chief Inspector of mines or any other authorized officer to undertake a safety and occupational health survey in Mines.
The present definition of “serious bodily injury” in the main act has been amended by introducing a new definition of “reportable injury” to cover injuries resulting in forced absence of a worker because of bodily injuries has been reduced to 24 hours. The functions of the committee include drafting of rules and regulations under the act and enquire under such accidents as may be referred to by the Central Government and hear and decide appeals and objections against the Act.
Health Safety and Welfare:
Elaborate provisions have been made in the Act for safe guarding the health and safety of workers and for promoting their welfare. Every Mine is required to provide free of cost, at least 2 liters of coal and whole some drinking water for every worker employed there in also a sufficient number of latrines and urinals of the prescribed type separately for male and female workers at convenient place. All the latrines and urinals are required to be adequately lighted, ventilated and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition at all times. The points for drinking water should not ordinarily be situated within twenty feet of any washing place urinal or latrine. Each mine is also required to provide and maintain 1st aid boxes or cupboard equipments with the prescribed contents. The central government have framed the coal Mines regulations1926 and the coal Mines Regulations, 1955.
The new regulations provide for more effective measures to prevent as also to deal with dangers from inflammable and noxious gases, dust, flooding and outbreak of fire or spontaneous heating. The Metalliferrous Mines Regulations, 1961 governing safety in mines other than coal and oil mine, were brought into force with effect from the 11th March, 1961. These regulations supersede the Indian Metalliferrous Mines Regulations, 1926. on the recommendation of the 16th session of the Indian lab our conference, the amending act of 1983 has empowered the Mines Directorate to undertake safety and occupational health survey in mines.
Penalties and procedures:
The act provides for severe punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to months or with fine up to RS. 2000 or both in persons who contravene certain provisions of the act. The act provides for a more deterrent punishment with compulsory imprisonment for a period up to two years and fine which may extend up to RS 5000 for the offence of violating the orders issued under section 22 of the act. Where under the employment of the person is prohibited at the mine in view of the apprehended and immediate danger to the safety of persons employed.
At its third meeting held on 17th September, 1974, the central Advisory contract Lab our Board made important recommendations. As well as the coal mining authority should be abolished; ( i ) Raising of coal; ii) over burden removal and earth cutting; iii) coal loading and unloading; iv) sand loading; v) soft coke Manufacturing.