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Local govt told to act on work accidents
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All provincial and municipal authorities must act on findings of investigations of serious workplace accidents occurred since 2005, the State Council's work safety committee office ordered yesterday.

A check on the local investigations and whether the parties responsible were accordingly dealt with "must be instantly organized" and reported to the office by work safety departments before January 15, said the document, released on the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) website at

Such reports should include the latest updates on every investigation, whether each case was closed within a reasonable time, and reports on the financial, Party, administrative as well as legal punishments of all the parties involved, the document stated.

These will act as a direct response to the tardy progress seen in the investigations of accidents in some areas, the document stated.

Nepotism at the local government level has hindered bringing "people responsible for workplace accidents to justice", SAWS director Li Yizhong had earlier said.

For example, five people found responsible for a coal mine blast that killed 171 in Heilongjiang Province in November 2005 were jailed only last Saturday. The men were reportedly detained by local police in December 2005 but were released on bail nine months later.

The five were arrested again last month, after Li visited the site of the accident and learnt of the case's progress.

A notorious and unauthorized coal mine in Chenzhou, Hunan Province, has been making the headlines for its harsh treatment of workers and attempts to cover up accidents. But the mine's chief, Huang Shengfu, reportedly managed to stay in the clear and bought himself out of any legal liability, reported the Oriental Outlook magazine.

Eight respective probes into the mine by the central and provincial disciplinary committees as of last month all returned no clear results, the document stated.

SAWS said on Sunday that there were about 457,000 workplace accidents reported from January to November this year, representing a decrease of 22.4 percent year-on-year. The number of accident deaths also dropped to 88,923, a year-on-year decrease of 14 percent.

During the past 11 months, a total of 83 serious accidents, each of which 10 or more people were killed, claimed a total of 1,380 lives, SAWS reported.

(China Daily December 25, 2007)

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