In a move to improve work site safety, China's lawmakers are
considering making it easier to press criminal charges against
people who are held responsible for industrial accidents.
The revised penal law submitted to the legislature for
deliberation on Tuesday, proposes to broaden the definition of
crimes related to work-place safety so that more people found
responsible for causing fatal accidents could be charged with
The crime can lead to imprisonment of up to seven years.
The current law allows only employees of firms and public
organizations to be charged with work-place safety crimes.
"We made the change as many offenders are individuals not
belonging to any firm or public organization," said Zhou Shenren,
deputy director of legislative committee of the National People's
Congress (NPC), or the top legislature.
Zhou said the draft also allows for supervisors to be charged
for failing to report accidents or attempting to cover them up.
Serious offenders can be sentenced up to seven years in jail.
China's coal mines are among the most deadly work sites in the
world. Nearly 6,000 people were killed in over 3,341 coal mine
accidents last year. Negligence and lacks management are believed
to be the major causes behind the accidents. The revised law also
raises the maximum incarceration for people who coerce others to
work in unsafe conditions that lead to fatal accidents from seven
years to ten years.
"These are crimes of negligence. They occur due to a headlong
pursuit of profits." said Huang Taiyun, a lawmaker with the
(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2006)