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Accidents kill over 100,000 in 2007, down 10%
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A senior official with the Chinese work safety watchdog said Friday that 101,480 people died in workplace and transportation accidents in 2007, down 10.1 percent year on year.

"The production safety situation is improving nationwide, but relevant agencies still shoulder arduous tasks in the coming year," Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, said at a national workplace safety meeting held Friday in Beijing.

"The total number of accidents last year - 506,376 - was still unacceptably big," said Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the CPC Central Committee.

This figure is 19.3 percent lower than the previous year.

Zhou called on local governments to step up work safety supervision and inspections to prevent severe accidents from happening especially in some accident-prone sectors as the traditional Spring Festival is approaching in February.

In a similar development, the country's safety watchdog publicized temporary provisions on uncovering hidden dangers in the workplace on Thursday, another effort to improve the country's work safety conditions.

The provisions, which would take effect on February 1, 2008, stipulated that any person or unit could report directly to the safety watchdog on spotting potential dangers in the workplace in a timely manner.

Zhou added that the country had closed 11,155 small coal mines in the last five years and invested more than 83 billion yuan (US$11.42 billion) to upgrade coal mine safety technologies and equipments.

(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2008)

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