Sometimes you spend too much time cooped up at home that you go stir crazy and a drink and smoke eases the feeling of being trapped.
Now I happen to believe that health and safety at work, especially work that could be hazardous and injurious to humans, should be paramount. And copper mining is very hazardous indeed. Below is about Mexico’s largest copper mine that has a blatant disregard for it’s workers health. It’s from a report from 2007 and I hope the owners of the mine, Grupo Mexico SAB, have cleaned up their act:
Employees at Mexico's largest copper mine are exposed to health and safety hazards that include dangerously high levels of mineral dust and acid mist, according to a report commissioned by the union whose strike has idled the mine since July…
…A U S pulmonary specialist, two Mexican doctors and three industrial hygienists compiled the report after visiting the mine and interviewing and examining the lungs of 68 workers between Oct. 5-8, said the coordinator of the all-volunteer group, Garrett Brown.
The report found "a serious lack of preventive maintenance, failure to repair equipment and correct visible safety hazards, and a conspicuous lack of basic housekeeping."
Because of that, it said, "workers have been exposed to high levels of toxic dusts and acid mists, operate malfunctioning and poorly maintained equipment and work in simply dangerous surroundings." [Editors link to acid mists and steel workers.]The Chilean copper miners are going to be stuck 2,300ft (700 metres) down a mine in cramped conditions for months to come while the rest of the world prepares for Christmas (yes, people do think that far ahead) or going on that last holiday of the year before Autumn sets in. Yet the righteous Nu Puritans never sleep and want to deprive them of a smoke and a drink.
The miners had added wine and cigarettes to a wish list of items they wanted to help them cope, but were told they will have to forego the vices of drinking and smoking during what is expected to be several months underground…
…But James Michael Duncan, Nasa’s deputy chief doctor, who has flown with a team of space agency medical experts to Chile, said: “From the alcohol standpoint, we need to first get their nutrition up before we make any considerations there.”
Instead of wine, the miners, who have lost about 22lb each in body weight, will have to make do with high protein, high-calorie foods delivered to them in narrow plastic tubes…
…Cigarettes were deemed to be bad for their health in such an enclosed space, but they have been given both patches and nicotine gum to help them counter withdrawal symptoms.
Like the puritans of old today’s nu puritans like to torture their victims until they take the pledge and wed their god on the alter of healthism according to their gospel of no smoking or drinking.
Dr Duncan said: “It’s an environment that’s pretty enclosed and we don’t want to contribute to any of the problems within the atmosphere of the mine.”
According to one Chilean health official some of the miners were “large consumers” of alcohol before they became trapped, and it was not advisable to cut off drinking immediately. But Jaime Manalich, Chile’s Health Minister, who had earlier been quoted as saying some of the men were big drinkers, denied any of them were alcoholics or were addicted to any other substance.
Javier Diaz, head of a medical team treating the miners, added: “Miners do not drink more or less alcohol than the average Chilean.”
He said vitamins being sent to the miners were to counter constipation, not withdrawal symptoms.
Lets hope that all the miners come out of this alive and well and go looking from their tormentor Dr. Duncan!
Tip of the Glengarry Pavlov’s Cat.