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Vice-Premier Urges Workplace Safety Inspections
Vice-Premier Huang Ju yesterday called on all areas and departments to crack down on unsafe workplaces by launching major inspection campaigns.

Addressing a national workplace safety video conference, Huang said inspections should focus particularly on coal mines, road traffic and fire fighting equipment in public places.

He urged the authorities to put safety inspections on the top of their agendas.

Huang said the Party and the State Council have long stressed the importance of safety at work, given the number of accidents among workers in China.

He said inspections and supervision of workplaces must be intensified to protect employees.

On July 1 last year, a law on workplace safety was promulgated and subsequently brought into effect by China's top legislative body. The law gives the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), now under the State Council, the right to implement comprehensive supervisory and administrative measures in respect of workplace safety.

"2003 is the first year in which the law will be up and running, and governments at various levels should make people aware of its provisions and ensure it is carried out properly," said Huang.

He stressed that administrative authorities at all levels should take responsibility for workplace safety by improving leadership, supporting and supervising production safety to solve problems before mishaps occur.

According to Huang, workplace inspections should result in new measures to prevent accidents.

The new law aims to protect the interests and rights of workers by curbing the number of accidents, especially fatal ones. It also seeks to improve the management and supervision of workplace safety, guarantee the efficiency of rescues and the timely investigation of workplace accidents.

"Local work safety departments should strictly abide by the new law," added Huang.

The nation faces serious problems with unsafe workplaces. In the past week alone, 70 people were killed in four serious industrial and traffic accidents, according to SAWS figures.

At least 53 people were confirmed dead in a gas explosion on March 22 in a mine in North China's Shanxi Province. About a week later, on March 30, another gas explosion in a mine in Northeast China's Liaoning Province killed 25 people.

(China Daily April 9, 2003)

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