The number of coal miners working underground is to be restricted in efforts to improve the safety of mining work, said the coal mining safety watchdog.
Zhao Tiechui, director of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, said no more than 100 people are allowed to work underground per shift in state-owned coal mines. According to Zhao, this is feasible for all 176 mines owned by 13 state-owned enterprises.
"Miners working underground are constantly exposed to accidents and risks owing to outdated equipment and backward mining technologies," said Zhao.
Apart from the ceaseless litany of smaller tragedies, China has experienced eight major 100-fatality plus mining disasters since 2000, said Zhao.
The State Administration of Work Safety and relevant departments issued guidelines in Beijing Friday, saying over-production must be prevented to avoid major mining accidents.
He added that the new regulation will also help improve mining techniques and methods to make the work safer and more efficient.
(Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2006)