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Document 31996Y0509(01)

Resolution of the European Coal and Steel Community Consultative Committee concerning the Safety and Health Commission for the Mining and other Extractive Industries

OJ C 138, 9.5.1996, p. 10–11 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

In force

31996Y0509(01)

Resolution of the European Coal and Steel Community Consultative Committee concerning the Safety and Health Commission for the Mining and other Extractive Industries

Official Journal C 138 , 09/05/1996 P. 0010 - 0011


RESOLUTION OF THE EUROPEAN COAL AND STEEL COMMUNITY CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE

concerning the Safety and Health Commission for the Mining and other Extractive Industries

(96/C 138/06)

(Adopted unanimously at the 328th session of 14 March 1996)

THE EUROPEAN COAL AND STEEL COMMUNITY CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE,

Having taken note of the Community programme concerning safety, hygiene and health at work (1996 to 2000) set out in document COM(95) 282 final,

Having regard to

- the existence of an ad hoc group of the Safety and Health Commission for the Mining and other Extractive Industries (SHCMOEI) which is considering cooperation with the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work, and of

- the presence of SHCMOEI observers at meetings of the Advisory Committee,

CALLS ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT the Community's extractive industry, and more particularly coal mining, is still an important sector for the EU and its energy policy. Furthermore, the EU's coal industry is a very special sector, with its own specific problems (the fact that over 80 % of mines are underground, the presence of 'firedamp` (methane) etc.) and consequent high accident risk;

AFFIRMS that the work carried out by the safety and Health Commission has been highly positive from all points of view. The strictness with which it has carried out its analyses and accident assessments has led to both a significant reduction in the number of industrial accidents and thus in the sector's accident rate and to substantial improvements in miners' working conditions, which, indirectly but incontrovertibly, has made a contribution to improving the profitability of EU coal mines;

NOTES that cooperation between these two bodies (the Safety and Health Commission and the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work) is desirable and of enormous value from the point of view of exchanges of experience. Nevertheless, the specific aspects referred to above, along with the efficiency of the Safety and Health Commission, would make it counter-productive to merge it with another body at present, given that coal mining still has considerable importance as a strategic sector in the EU;

OBSERVES that, even though the Safety and Health Commission does not come under the ECSC Treaty, it obviously has strong links with the coal industry which does derive from the Treaty. Accident studies produced by the Safety and Health Commission have provided and still do provide the European Commission with information which is crucial for the drafting of proposals for directives which have led and will continue to lead to the avoidance of numerous accidents throughout the Community's mining sector;

IS AWARE of the European Commission's budgetary difficulties, but integrating or merging the Safety and Health Commission with the Advisory Committee cannot be acceptable as a way of saving budgetary funds, since the fundamental problem is to reduce the number of accidents which, unfortunately, are in many cases fatal.

On the basis of all the above, the ECSC Consultative Committee,

(a) CONSIDERS AND RECOMMENDS to the European Commission that, since the ECSC Treaty will expire in 2002 and the bodies that come under that Treaty are due to be disbanded at the same time, it would be desirable for the Safety and Health Commission (SHCMOEI), with its indirect links with the ECSC, to remain in existence as an inde pendent body at least until the ECSC Treaty expires, which would be the appropriate time at which to address the problem of a possible merger;

(b) THEREFORE REQUESTS the European Commission at least to uphold the present responsibilities of the Safety and Health Commission, thus preventing its disappearance and the merger and integration of that Commission with the Advisory Committee referred to above, given that, as has been stated, both the safety and the lives of many European miners are at stake.

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