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China Sees Increase of Serious Accidents in March
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China has seen a rebound of serious accidents in March despite a 15 percent drop in death toll throughout the first quarter of 2007.

Statistics with the State Administration of Work Safety show the number of accidents causing three to nine deaths has climbed by 21 percent from the same period of last year, and the total of dead or missing in colliery accidents has more than doubled.

The administration said 82 percent of severe colliery accidents took place in coalmines owned by townships, and forty percent of the accidents occurred in illegal collieries.

Experts attribute the accidents to illegal production, loose control over work place safety, and incompetent supervision by regulatory departments.

A spokesman with the administration said last week the accidents came at a time when collieries started to resume production after the long Spring Festival holiday.

As gases quickly build up in a shaft when production is suspended, mine owners should carefully execute proper production procedures and stay on high alert before resuming operations.

Suspended coal mines must go through rigorous examinations before going into operation again, said Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Work Safety during Monday's video conference.

He demanded departments at all levels work efficiently in dealing with accidents and make the investigation results known to the public as soon as possible, noting that people who give a deceptive report will be punished seriously.

(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2007)

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