The Chinese Government will continue its united effort over the next 12 months to reduce the country's rising accidental death toll, according to a top safety official.
Statistics released at a conference yesterday show about 140,000 people died as a result of accidents last year, with traffic-related accidents contributing significantly to the total.
The number of accidental deaths last year was up more than 4 percent compared with 2001.
The 2002 figure equates to about 380 lives lost a day due to accidents. State Administration of Work Safety head Wang Xianzheng said yesterday: "The work safety situation is still grave in China and we should try our best to set up an efficient safety system nationwide to curb all accidents."
Speaking at the national conference on work safety, Wang said special attention will be paid to reduce the impact of the mining sector, enterprises producing toxic chemical products and transportation companies on the death toll.
Wang said China will strengthen the supervision and management of coal mining safety, especially at small mines run by private operators.
He pledged to continue to close small coal mines operating illegally and those that do not meet safety requirements.
Shan Chunchang, a senior official with Wang's administration, said a lack of safety awareness and problems in management and out-of-date production equipment not only held back the development of the nation's coal industry, but threatened the lives of its workers.
To cut down on the number of accidents, Shan stressed that safety awareness among miners must also be strengthened.
For key coal mines, supervision work by the administration will focus on ventilation systems and measures to prevent fires, the buildup of gas and floating coal particles, Shan said.
China will close more small workshops and retailers of explosives and fireworks.
Those responsible for industrial production accidents will be severely punished according to the law, Shan added.
(China Daily January 17, 2003)