The central government yesterday reiterated the importance of safety in the workplace and called it "a predominant issue" for the country.
Vice-Premier Wu Bangguo yesterday stressed that businesses around the country should further highlight and enforce safety at work to prevent accidents from taking place.
Wu's remarks were heard at a national work safety conference yesterday, where the official spoke of the recent tragic air crashes involving Air China and China Northern Airlines.
Wu said the two crashes had brought enormous loss to the victims and their families, as well as to the country.
Accidents that occurred in the workplace recently were due largely to the negligence of safety, according to Wu.
Local officials and business leaders have so far emphasized the importance of production, output and profits, with little concern on safety issues.
Wu urged local governments to enhance the supervision of work safety and vowed to take legal action against senior business leaders who proved to be negligent. Since the releasing of work safety regulations by the State Council, the number of accidents and the number of casualties decreased in the first quarter of this year by 12.5 and 17.6 per cent respectively compared to the same period last year.
But the country's overall work safety "is still a big problem and remains unstable," said Wu.
Wu also referred to a series of particularly troublesome industries when it comes to the safety issues such as civil aviation, railway transport, oil production and petrochemical production, electricity generation and the arms industry.
These industries must learn a lesson especially after the recent air accidents, said Wu.
Wu also stressed in his remarks the shutting of illegal small coal mines around the country.
Officials from various departments of the State Council, major provincial leaders and leaders from a few State-owned enterprises took part in the meeting yesterday.
(China Daily May 15, 2002)