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China to Step Up Safety Inspection in Workplace
Senior officials on work safety pledged Monday that the government will step up all possible efforts to improve work safety in the country.

"The work safety situation is still grave in China and we should try our best to set up an efficient safety system nationwide to curb accidents,'' said Wang Xianzheng, head of the State Administration of Work Safety.

Wang spoke Monday at a televized conference on work safety. He said special attention will be paid to the mining sector, enterprises producing toxic chemical products and transportation companies to reduce accidents.

Shan Chunchang, the deputy administrator of work safety, said Monday that a total of 109 people were killed in six mining and traffic accidents in November.

One recent example was a gas explosion in a village-run mine in Liangdu Town in Jinzhong City in North China's Shanxi Province on November 10 which killed 37 people.

Shan said hidden dangers in work safety still remain in most regions because of low productivity and less safety awareness among local officials and employers.

"Private industries are the weak area for safety in industrial production,'' Shan warned.

About 74 percent of serious accidents in industrial and mining enterprises occurred in the private sector, statistics show.

Shan said that China will continuously focus on the management of coal mines, dangerous chemicals and road and water transportation.

In addition, China will also close more small workshops and retailers of explosives and fireworks. Those held responsible for industrial production accidents will be severely punished according to the law, he added.

Shan said he was also very concerned about the nation's work safety situation, which lags behind developed countries.

"The situation indicated that an uphill battle in work safety awaits us,'' said Shan.

"Coal mines, especially those mines with small production capacities, have always been our concern though work safety has improved to some degree over the past few years,'' Shan said.

Lack of safety awareness and problems in management and out-of-date production equipment not only hold back the development of the nation's coal industry, but also threaten the lives of miners, Shan said.

To cut down on the number of accidents, Shan stressed that safety awareness among miners must also be strengthened.

For key coal mines, supervision work by the administration will focus on ventilation systems and measures to prevent fires, the buildup of gas, and floating coal particles, Shan said.

"Coal mines with bad safety records must cease production and will not be allowed to re-open until their safety measures meet required standards,'' Shan said.

(People's Daily November 19, 2002)

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