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State Urges Mines to Improve Safety
All of China's coal mines were urged on Friday to conduct immediate work safety inspections, combining self-inspection and spot-checks by work safety watchdogs.

The inspection campaign aims to create a safe work safety environment in the coal mining industry, said Zhao Tiechui, deputy director of State Administration of Work Safety, at a nationwide televised meeting on Friday.

Apart from the coal mining sector, safety inspections will also take place in the civil aviation, railway and chemical industries and places where large numbers of people congregate.

The State Council will also send inspection panels to some provinces and regions starting from next week.

The first two months of this year witnessed a string of serious coal mine disasters which killed at least 100 miners, deeply concerning the central government, Zhao said.

But Zhao pointed out that the number of mine accidents and related deaths had dropped 9 percent and 24.8 percent respectively when compared with the same period last year.

"After initial investigations, most of the accidents were caused by management loopholes and violation of work safety rules," he said.

The greatest threat to safety in China's coal mines is the failure to observe basic rules, Zhao said. "Leaders of some enterprises ignore safety regulations and their basic responsibilities."

Another concern is the reopening of illegal small coal mines that have been ordered to close by the government, according to Zhao.

(China Daily Agency February 22, 2003)

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