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J R Soc Med. 1995 December; 88(12): 683–685.
PMCID: PMC1295410

The occupational health of de-miners in Afghanistan.


In the last few years there has been increasing awareness of the problems of landmines. This has focused on the ethics of landmine use, and the dangers to the local population of minefields. It has culminated in a much needed campaign for a moratorium on landmine manufacture. There are, however, millions of mines left in almost all parts of the world, which can create an indefinite hazard. The only solution is the slow and painstaking task of clearing these minefields. The health and safety of de-miners has not been previously discussed in any detail. This paper addresses the hazards to the people clearing minefields, with specific reference to the activities of the HALO trust in Afghanistan. De-miners are subject to the same hazards from mines as the general population, but put themselves at additional risk by entering minefields deliberately. These hazards can be controlled by a safe system of work and the appropriate use of personal protective equipment.

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Selected References

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  • Craig G. Treating the Afghan war wounded. J R Soc Med. 1993 Jul;86(7):404–405. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McGrath R. Trading in death: anti-personnel mines. Lancet. 1993 Sep 11;342(8872):628–629. [PubMed]
  • Coupland RM, Korver A. Injuries from antipersonnel mines: the experience of the International Committee of the Red Cross. BMJ. 1991 Dec 14;303(6816):1509–1512. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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