China will strengthen the supervision and management of coal mine safety, especially at small mines run by private operators, a top work safety official announced at a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council Tuesday in Beijing.
Wang Xianzheng, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, pledged to continue to close small coal mines operating illegally and those that do not meet work safety requirements.
Priority will be given to five provinces which have proved black spots for coal mine accidents: North China's Shanxi Province, Central China's Henan Province, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, and Northeast China's Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces.
Statistics reveal that 2,584 accidents occurred in coal mines throughout China from January to September, killing a total of 4,498 people.
More than 70 percent of work accidents in China occurred in private companies, administration figures disclosed.
"We require all coal mines to insure their employees with industrial injury insurance to protect their legal interests," said Shan Chunchang, a vice-administrator.
The State Administration of Work Safety will also cooperate with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions to strengthen the power of the unions in those small coal mines, Shan said.
Earlier this year, the State Economic and Trade Commission published a special regulation on the inspection and management of safety instruments and products used in coal mines and three other regulations on safe production.
Another 14 regulations on work safety are expected to be published by the end of next year, including a regulation to ascertain responsibility for serious coal mine accidents.
They form part of efforts to guarantee the efficient implementation of the State law on work safety, which will officially come into force on Friday.
Monday, however, a fire at Ertang Coal Mine in Nanning, capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, left 21 miners dead, Xinhua reported.
Five miners survived the accident which occurred about 4:00 am. Nine others are still missing, local rescuers said.
(China Daily October 30, 2002)