Nationwide inspections of quarries ordered

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BANGKOK, June 4 – The Industry Ministry today instructed officials throughout Thailand to make on-the-spot inspections to ensure safety conditions at quarries following yesterday’s accident at an open-pit stone grinding mill in Phetchburi province.

Vithoon Simachokdee, permanent secretary for industry, told ranking national and provincial officials by video conference that existing laws on industrial plants, explosives, mining and industrial standards must be strictly enforced and adhered to.

He told reporters that the troubled quarry in Phetchburi where a rock collapse killed three people had been ordered twice to improve their mining safety procedures following complaints from local residents on noise pollution and dust.

Mr Vithoon said repeated inspections are necessary to prevent accidents, adding that he has ordered the Primary Industries and Mines Department to carry out preventive inspections at quarries nationwide and take precautions especially during the coming rainy season.

A preliminary report found four risk-prone quarries in Saraburi, Chonburi, Yala and Chiang Rai provinces.

Industry Minister Prasert Bunchaisuk inspected the Phetsamut rock quarry today and said widespread unwillingness to apply the laws has affected the quality of life of residents in the neighbourhoods, the environment and the country’s industrial system.

Some factories have operated without licences and their production procedures are below the required standard, he said.

He has set up a 10-member committee to inspect, supervise and enforce industrial-related laws under the jurisdiction of the Industry Ministry. (MCOT online news)