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Workplace Safety Stressed
China's accident-plagued mining sector requires an improved emergency rescue system, said Wang Dexue, deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), Wednesday at a ceremony to mark the launch of the national mining rescue command center.

"The center will help to complete the mining emergency rescue system as well as facilitate the quick reaction of rescue organizations," Wang said.

"It will also help establish a well-organized and coordinated professional rescue team, reduce the economic and personal losses caused by accidents and gradually promote work safety among mining enterprises."

SAWS statistics indicated that 1.073 million accidents of various kinds, claiming some 139,400 lives, occurred in China during 2002. Of this total, the number of mishaps in the manufacturing and mining sectors ranked first, causing the most workplace deaths -- 14,924 people.

Fortunately, China's coal mine sector, especially the State-owned coal mines, possesses a better rescue system thanks to more personnel, investment and equipment, noted Wang.

The deputy director further stressed that rescuers must improve their scientific knowledge and acquire more advanced techniques in the area of emergency rescue to deal with the complex nature of mining accidents.

Jin Kening, head of the newly established center, said his center will take charge of organization, command and coordination of national mining rescue and disaster relief.

It will organize the drafting of regulations and standards on mining emergency rescue and conduct the certification of professionals in the field, he said.

In many cases, it is very difficult for a single mine, even a large State-owned one, to deal with a fatal accident in which hundreds of people are threatened with death and injury, said another official with the center surnamed Yang.

"Our center will arrange trans-provincial or even trans-regional rescue efforts to help the mines with equipment, technology and expertise," he added.

In addition to the mining sector, China has set up emergency rescue systems in other fields to deal with marine accidents, earthquakes and forest fires.

The new mining rescue command center will play a cooperative role with the above-mentioned systems, Yang noted.

Meanwhile, in any sector or enterprise it is best to take preventative safety measures in the workplace.

Thus, the SAWS and other related departments will organize nationwide inspections in coal and non-coal mines, civil aviation, railway and chemical industries and other fields, SAWS officials said.

(China Daily February 27, 2003)

Report: Accidents Kill Some 139,400 People Last Year
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