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Accident System Approved
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The State Council has approved the establishment a cross-ministerial coordination meeting system to track down those responsible for severe workplace accidents.

Led by the Ministry of Supervision, the system incorporates the public security and justice ministries, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

The system was set up to strengthen information sharing and coordination in identifying those responsible for serious workplace accidents, a statement on, the official website of the central government, said.

The system will also help authorities to crack down on criminal activities such as trying to hide an accident, delaying the release of information about it or fleeing the scene.

One vice-minister from each of the six ministries have been named as lead participants of the meeting system, with Chen Changzhi, deputy minister of supervision as convener.

The six ministries will, in principle, meet once a year to discuss problems relating to work safety and as required in the event of an emergency.

It is already standard practice for an investigative team comprising officials from various ministries to be set up in the event of a serious accident.

After 64 people were killed last month when a bridge collapsed in Fenghuang County, Hunan Province, an investigative team comprising representatives of the SAWS, the ministries of supervision, construction and communications, and the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate was formed.

The State Council has already rolled out a regulation on the reporting of production safety, in which it stressed the establishment of a coordinated system between the work safety administration and judicial departments on dealing with those responsible for accidents.

The SAWS and the Ministry of Supervision also unveiled a regulation specifying the penalties for illegal activities detected in workplace accidents last year.

In an interview with the Southern Weekend last month, Huang Yi, a SAWS spokesman, said such a system is necessary, as it usually requires several departments to punish those responsible.

"People who violate criminal laws will be transferred to judicial departments and the supervisory department will hand out administrative penalties," he said.

"It is a joint effort, and thus requires cross-ministerial communication."

The system will ensure the implementation of the punishment, he said.

"We can't let those responsible get away with it when the cause of the accident is clear," he said.

The SAWS website said 62,557 people have been killed in workplace accidents between January and August.

(China Daily September 19, 2007)

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