China's industrial safety agencies are aiming to recruit 100,000 coal miners as mine safety supervisors in a bid to curb the industry's high accident rate.
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and the State Administration of Coal-mine Safety (SACS) to date have appointed 70,000 miners as safety supervisors nationwide.
"The facts prove that mines with supervisors report fewer accidents," said Zhang Mingqi, a member of the ACFTU Secretariat. "As miners themselves, these supervisors have a direct stake in their working conditions, especially their safety."
"We also plan to give them appropriate training."
The ACFTU said the construction sector, in which 71 percent of employees are migrant workers, would have about one million safety supervisors by the end of June.
The supervisors would have the authority to evacuate workers in the event of any risk or imminent danger.
Last year 5,218 mine accidents were reported in China, with the loss of 8,280 lives, while the construction sector recorded 2,288 accidents, involving 2,607 fatalities, according to the SACS.
"The situation is serious and a great threat to workers' rights, and it could hamper China's development and stability," said Zhang.
(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2006)