Keywords: accident causes, aggregated indicators, China, coal chain, energy chain stages, frequency-consequence curves, large mines, small mines, risk assessment, severe accidents, coal mining, energy policy
Assessment of severe accident risks in the Chinese coal chain
Severe accident risks in China's coal chain were investigated in detail based on extensive statistics using Chinese sources that were not open until recently. Every year about 6000 fatalities occur in Chinese coal mines; about one third due to severe (≥ five fatalities) accidents. The Chinese severe accident fatality rate for the coal chain is 6.17 per GWeyr, which is about 10 times higher than in other non-OECD countries and about 40 times higher than in OECD countries. At the province level lower fatality rates were associated with higher mechanised levels of coal mining. Severe accidents are about five times more frequent in small mines than large mines because many small mines lack even basic safety standards, whereas large mines invest up to 15?20% of total costs in safety. This study contributed to the evaluation of energy policy strategies for China, based on an inter-disciplinary assessment including comprehensive risk analysis.