One Miner Dies Due to “Breach of Safety Norms” in Tkibuli

An incident which occurred on October 27 in the Mindeli Mine, Tkibuli, western Georgia, claimed the life of miner Davit Phorchkhidze.

The Saknakhshiri GIG Group, which owns the coal mines in Tkibuli, stated that the death occurred when a tunnel collapsed.

“The company expresses sorrow over the incident. We offer our condolences to the family, friends and each member of our company," the statement of Saknakhshiri reads.

This is not the first case of a miner’s death in Tkibuli. On May 10, four employees died in the same mine when a freight elevator they were on failed and plummeted down the 400-meter mine shaft.

The Ministry of Economy said of this latest death that safety norms on the ground had been violated and the Interior Ministry of Georgia has launched an investigation under Article 240 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which implies violation of safety norms during mining-construction works.

A joint team of the ministries of economy and healthcare demanded the suspension of mining activities until investigation is over. The representatives of both ministries went to the scene to study the case.

The Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs created a joint monitoring group based on a joint order of May 11, 2017, after the death of the abovementioned four miners. They were tasked with checking all mines and other high-risk work places in order to eliminate future accidents.

Beka Peradze, an Inspector of the Labor Supervision Department of the Ministry of Health stated that part of the mine collapsed during the investigation works at the scene. He said that the collapse hinders investigative activities and at present it is impossible to assess what caused the death of the miner.

“This is a high-risk place. There is pressure that resulted in the collapse of the tunnel. The mining works have been suspended and cleaning works will be carried out. Afterwards, the mine will be reinforced and only after this will we study the case in detail,” the inspector stated.

The wife of the deceased, Maia Porchkhidze, says that her husband has been working in the mine for nine years and was a very experienced employee. She believes that a breach of safety norms was the reason for the accident.

The United Trade Union asks for immediate and transparent investigation. Raisa Liparteliani, Deputy Chair of the Union, says that it is necessary to restore labor inspection and also to tighten labor law.

“This year, 24 people died due to a breach in labor conditions in Georgia and 30 were injured. Such cases are never timely investigated, and we demand a quick and transparent investigation in order to find out the real reason for the incident,” she stated.

Last year, 58 died and 84 people were injured due to improper working conditions in Georgia.

Thea Morrison

30 October 2017 18:02