Production safety standards are still not up to the mark despite
a drop in the number of workplace accidents and deaths in the first
11 months of this year, China's top safety watchdog said
State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) said about 457,000
accidents were reported from January to November, a year-on-year
decrease of 22.4 percent. The number of accident deaths too fell,
too, to 88,923, a year-on-year drop of 14 percent.
Eighty-three serious accidents, in each of which 10 or more
people were killed, claimed a total of 1,380 lives, SAWS Deputy
Director Wang Xianzheng told a forum.
But the severity of the situation hasn't changed despite the
drops, he said. "The total number of accidents remains high, and
serious accidents have been frequent."
Also, frequent accidents are still being reported from certain
fields, with the situation in some regions being "less than
stable", Wang said. For instance, despite a 22.7 percent fall in
the number of deaths in the mining sector, fatal accidents have
Three major mine accidents occurred in Shanxi Province alone this year, claiming 159
The country has taken unprecedented legal and disciplinary steps
in recent years to ensure work safety, and Wang sounded confident
of improving things, though it would take some time.
Since the enactment of the Work Safety Law five years ago, 26
provincial legislative committees and local governments have issued
relevant regulations. And more than 50 administrative State Council
regulations cover various aspects of workplace safety today.
Moreover, several laws, including the mine safety law, the coal
law and coal mine safety inspection regulations, are scheduled for
revision next year, when the long-awaited emergency regulations on
work safety, too, is expected to be drafted, said Zhang Qiong, a
deputy director in the State Council's legislative affairs
The Communist Party of China's disciplinary watchdog released a
10-point document last week, imposing stricter penalties on those
failing to maintain safety in workplaces.
The rules say officials could be demoted, sacked or expelled
from the CPC if they take advantage of their posts to influence
purchase, public biddings or accident probes. Those who try to save
people responsible for accidents, too, face severe punishment.
Thanks to these efforts, Wang said China's earlier goal of
establishing a relatively comprehensive work safety monitoring
scheme by 2007 "is completely achievable".
(China Daily December 24, 2007)