As the world's leader of coal-mining fatalities, China's coal sector has major safety concerns. Thousands of workers have been killed or gone missing within the past few years, and officials urge that the country needs to update its security measures. If mines incorporated equipment condition monitoring as well as predictive maintenance, the older facilities considered the most dangerous could significantly decrease their risk for life-threatening accidents and prevent unneeded downtime.
Last year, 1,049 people were killed missing coal-mining accidents, the Chinese government said. The latest disaster capturing headlines is the explosion at the Xiahaizi colliery, where a predawn blast on April 7 caused the mine to flood, trapping 22 miners and killing 19. Since then, four miners have been rescued. Authorities said it isn't clear yet what caused the explosion, but the water came from nearby wells.
In addition, on April 11, a collapse at a mine in Guizhou province killed seven, the official Xinhua news agency said.
These are only the tip of the iceberg among China's coal mines lacking safety measures, despite raised official attention to safety in previous years. Compared to the 52 people killed over the last decade in U.S. coal-mining disasters, China's coal mines have led to more than 33,000 deaths in the last decade, according to data from the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and China's State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.
With that being said, there has been a movement to strengthen China's security regulations, where efforts to consolidate smaller coal mines under state-owned operations have lowered the death toll each year since 2000. The government has tried to make coal-mining safety a priority, and to further the efforts, accident-avoidance equipment could play a large role in upcoming years.