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Tighter controls on chemical producers to improve safety
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The country's 24,000 licensed chemical producers will be required to list and classify all their products to the State Administration for Work Safety (SAWS) by the end of next year, as part of efforts to improve industry safety, authorities said Thursday.

Li Yuncai, an official of the National Registration Center for Chemicals under the SAWS, said: "About 17,000 producers of hazardous chemicals including explosive materials, flammable liquid and solid, toxic articles, have already been registered with the authority."

The biggest beneficiary will be the carriers or customers of the hazardous chemicals, Li said.

"The producers will be required to submit standard instruction labels, which help people know the products' dangers, and offer technical support in the event of accidents," Li said.

"Meanwhile, we have a 24-hour emergency hotline which provides professional help according to registered information in case of accidents," Li said.

Every year, accidents happen due to inappropriate conveyance and lack of support in emergency handling, Li said.

"In 2005, for example, a ro-ro passenger ship carrying hygroscopic and flammable goods sailing from Penglai, Shandong province to Dalian, Liaoning province, caught fire, but because the goods were not labeled and were without instructions, sailors used water to try and put out the fire. It only aggravated and caused a more serious outcome," Li said.

The state required registration as early as 2002, but it has not been compulsory until now.

"The amendment of the Safety Regulations for Dangerous Chemical Goods will enforce the producers to register their good and provide related documents, otherwise they will be prohibited from production or fined," Li said.

The new amendment will come into effect either next month or early next year.

Ji Guofeng, another official at the registration center, said the process would take a month with a major part of it able to be done online.

"The producers could e-mail the specific introduction, instruction and label of their goods to us online, and we would point out the inaccurate or disqualified parts, then after they correct those parts, we would give them certificates," Ji said.

Chang Zhanhua, a senior official of Qilu Petrochemical Company, said it is "absolutely necessary" to register their products to the authority, although it took him and his colleagues three months and several revisions to complete it.

(China Daily November 21, 2008)

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