Top safety officials Wednesday in Beijing called for tough prevention measures to curb workplace accidents which claimed the lives of 124,581 people between January and November last year in 980,689 separate accidents.
Wang Xianzheng, head of the State Administration on Work Safety (SAWS), said management priority should be given to rail, air, road and water transportation, especially in the run-up to the Chinese lunar New Year holidays, by the end of this month, when millions of people will be on the move heading home for family reunions.
Wang issued the directive at the national televised conference on work safety hold on Wednesday.
Lack of work safety awareness, backward infrastructure and loopholes in management and supervision have resulted in continuing cycle of accidents, which has caused great losses in terms of both lives and assets, said Wang.
To cut the toll of serious accidents, urgent preventative steps need to be taken and work safety supervision and administration strengthened, said Wang.
On July 1 last year, a law on work safety was promulgated and subsequently brought into effect by China's top legislative body, giving SAWS, which is under the State Council, the right to implement comprehensive supervision and administrative measures in respect of workplace safety.
One of the major tasks for the administration in 2003 is to promote awareness of the law, ensure it is implemented and revise and perfect corresponding regulations concerning work safety, said Wang.
Under the guidance of the State Council, the administration will launch special supervision programmes in many sectors, particularly coal mines and production plants using or manufacturing dangerous chemicals.
Once again it was coal mine accidents that topped last year's list of tragedies.
Currently there are a total of 2,800 coal mine safety supervisors across the nation, and each of them is responsible for the safety of at least 10 pits, according to administration statistics.
(China Daily January 10, 2003)