chapter  8
19 Pages

Coal mine safety: political determinants

The determinants of industrial safety can be analysed on various levels. The proximate causes or triggers were examined in the previous chapter. Beyond that, authors such as Herbert Heinrich, who focused on the individual, have argued that most accidents are caused by human error or failings (Heinrich et al. 1980: 46-9). Pan Weier (2005a: 20) likewise estimated that accidents involving human failure to obey regulations and rules cause 99 per cent of deaths in Chinese mines. In one of the most thorough analyses of coal safety, Chen Hong (2006) also focused on ‘unsafe behaviour’. Other authors (Braithwaite 1985: 19; ZMB 26 October 2000) cited organizational and communication problems as the causes of specific accidents. Certainly, reducing human error and improving organization and communication can make vital contributions to improving industrial safety.