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Coalmine Workers Encouraged to Report Hidden Danger

North China's Shanxi Province will reward coal mine workers who report hidden dangers in coal mine operation in an effort to reduce mine accidents.

Workers are encouraged to report the dangers to the trade unions at various levels and they will have an award ranging from 300 to 3000 yuan (US$37 to 370) if the clues are confirmed true.

The identity of the whistle-blowers will be kept confidential to protect them, according to a circular jointly issued by the Shanxi Provincial Federation of Trade Unions, the Provincial Work Safety Administration and the Provincial Coal Mine Safety Administration.

However, any one who offers false information will be prosecuted, the circular said.

Coal mine workers used to be unwilling or dare not to report hidden dangers in mine operation, even if they had known the danger before an accident really happened. The circular was aimed to change the situation, an official with the provincial government said.

Shanxi is a major base for coal production in China and also a major province for frequent coal mine accidents.

China's coal industry, which provides 70 percent of the country's energy needs, is enjoying a high-speed growth while being plagued by rampant accidents. Last year, more than 6,000 miners lost their lives in explosions and other accidents.

In the first half of this year, China recorded some 2,700 mining fatalities.

(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2005)

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