The central government has announced that it will invest nearly US$60 billion over the next five years in efforts to reduce the country's notoriously high industrial accident rate.
In its first ever five-year plan on workplace security, the government said it would reduce the death rate per 100 million yuan (US$12.5 million) of gross domestic product from 0.70 in 2005 to 0.45 in 2010.
Targets have been set to reduce workplace related deaths per 100,000 employees from 3.85 in 2005 to 2.8 in 2010, particularly in the mining sector.
The State Administration of Work Safety explained that the plan aims to reduce the number of accidents that result in more than ten deaths by at least 20 percent. China reported 73 such cases last year.
Last year, about 127,000 people in China died in workplace accidents and there were 17 incidents with death tolls exceeding 30.
The efforts will focus on nine safety projects including coalmine accident prevention, which is the top priority of this plan.
In the last 10 years, coalmining accidents accounted for 58 percent of serious accidents that resulted in the deaths of at least 30 people. In the first seven months of this year, official figures showed that 371 people died in coalmining accidents, each resulting in more than ten deaths.
The government has plans to conduct more training on production safety, to monitor potential accidents and encourage the reporting of illegal behavior.
It also aims to solve the problems of poor production conditions and management, particularly in the smaller coalmines within the next three years.
Also in the pipeline are a monitoring system as well as efforts to improve the management and supervision of non-coal mines, dangerous chemicals and fireworks. Fire control in densely populated areas is also to be enhanced.
In addition, the government will start a register of unsafe workplaces.
Driven by economic interests, many local governments have turned a blind eye to safety issues in factories and coalmines.
The central government's plan also requires that work safety be included in national economic and social development planning, and in the evaluation of local officials.
(Xinhua News Agency August 29 2006)