State work safety watchdog on Tuesday reported 796 people killed or missing in 52 major safe work accidents nationwide since the beginning of 2007, down 162 and 12 respectively from the same period last year.
More than a third of the total accidents, or 18, occurred in coal mines, in which 287 people were killed or missing, relatively the same as last year, according to the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).
The administration also recorded three fire accidents, 22 traffic accidents and five accidents in construction sites.
Meanwhile the SAWS highlighted four "particularly serious" accidents in which 157 people died, up one and 37 respectively.
"Although the number of major accidents and death toll decreased compared with the same period of 2006, China's work safety situation remains grim considering the total death toll," said SAWS head Li Yizhong, citing a total of 60,370 were killed in 337,210 accidents in various types by Aug. 25. this year.
"Corporate and public working conditions have seen no fundamental improvement and hidden risks and problems still exist in some key industries," Li told a national conference on work safety.
He cited the bridge collapse on Aug. 13 in central China's Hunan Province, which claimed 64 lives.
Four days later, a coal mine flooded two pits in east China's Shandong Province, leaving 181 people trapped underground.
Also in Shandong, molten aluminium at a temperature of about 900 degrees Celsius spilt at a local factory on Aug. 19, leaving 14 dead.
"Despite factors like abnormal weather, too much rain and natural disasters, these accidents occurred either because we failed to take safety seriously enough, or precautions were not thoroughly implemented," Li said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2007)