15 Oct 2010

Mine safety to be reviewed by Chile

12:56 pm on 15 October 2010

Chile will conduct a review of mine safety following the rescue of 33 miners who had been trapped underground since 5 August.

President Sebastian Pinera promised that never again would people be allowed to work in such inhumane conditions.

Globally, mining is one of the most dangerous industries in the world.

The International Labour Organisation says mining accounts for 1% of the worldwide workforce, but accounts for 8% of fatal accidents.

ILO director-general Juan Somavia says the disaster in Chile has highlighted the need to improve health and safety standards of dangerous occupations.

Meanwhile, offers and gifts have begun to roll in for the miners, who have a new celebrity status.

Edison Pena, a fan of Elvis Presley, has been invited to visit Graceland, the mansion that was the singer's home in Tennessee.

Real Madrid and Manchester United have invited the miners, many of whom are avid soccer fans, to watch them play in Europe.

A local singer-turned-businessman has given them $US10,000 each, while Apple boss Steve Jobs has sent them all the latest iPod. A Greek company has offered an islands tour.

The miners were also expected to receive job offers, advertising deals and possibly contracts to sell their stories for book and film projects.

Chile will never be the same again - President

President Sebastian Pinera of Chile says the country will never be the same again after the extraordinary rescue of the 33 miners trapped deep underground for 69 days.

It took 22 hours for all the men to be winched to the surface in a narrow rescue capsule. The last was Luis Urzua who emerged to jubilant scenes at 9.55pm local time on Wednesday (0055 GMT on Thursday).

Mr Pinera says he thinks Chile is more united and stronger than ever, and more valued worldwide.

The miners are now being treated in hospital wards that have been darkened to allow them to adjust to the light.

Doctors say the majority of the miners are in surprisingly good health and two may be released later on Thursday.

Medical officials say most have adapted well to natural light and their treatment is working.

The BBC reports several are receiving treatment for dental and eye problems, and two have the lung disease silicosis.

Seventeen are being treated in a special unit of the hospital and the other 16 are in a general section. Each man is being allowed up to three visits per day.