Benhixu Colliery

Definition - What does Benhixu Colliery mean?

Benxihu Colliery, situated near Benxi Lake in China, was first mined in 1905 for iron and coal. Initially a joint Chinese-Japanese venture, the project eventually came under strictly Japanese control.

There was a deadly explosion at this mine on April 26, 1942, resulting in the death of 1,549 Chinese miners.

Safeopedia explains Benhixu Colliery

The Japanese coerced Chinese laborers to work in the mines under very poor working conditions, including limited food and insufficient clothing. Other safety issues included firedamp and the possibility of coal-dust and gas explosions, as well as deadly diseases in the camp such as cholera and typhoid.

On the day of the disaster, gas exploded in one of the shafts. Miners’ families bolted to the ablaze area in hopes of rescuing their family members, but they were cordoned off by an electric fence erected by Japanese guards to keep unauthorized people away. The clean-up operation lasted for 10 days, and many bodies were too badly burned to be identified.

According to the Mine Safety and Health Act (MSHA), all miners have a right to file a complaint of alleged danger or a safety violation to a federal or state agency. All miners have a right to undergo medical examination during the transfer from one job to another to make sure their respiratory systems are in good condition. Miners have full authority to deny working in unsafe and unhealthy mines. Miners can also lodge a complaint of discriminatory behavior, which includes but is not limited to a demotion, benefits diminution, threat, coercion, or layoff within 60 days.

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