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Work safety agency urges caution in quake-hit areas
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The State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) issued an urgent circular on Tuesday telling its local branches to ensure production safety in earthquake-stricken areas and prevent serious industrial accidents.

A 7.8-magnitude quake rocked Wenchuan County, 159 kilometers northwest of the Sichuan provincial capital city of Chengdu, at 2:28 p.m. on Monday. The death toll from the quake had climbed to 9,219 as of Tuesday morning in eight affected provinces and municipalities: Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Shanxi, Guizhou, Hubei and Chongqing.

"Enterprises that have been affected by the quake should immediately stop production and evacuate their staff safely," said the circular. It said that production shouldn't resume before the disaster conditions had been relieved.

SAWS convened an urgent work meeting on Monday evening after the quake and began developing an emergency response work safety plan.

Huang Yi, spokesman of SAWS, said on Tuesday morning in an online interview with the Chinese website www.gov.cn that the administration has ordered that proper work must be done to enforce the inspection of major danger sources, especially chemical plants, coal mines and other mines.

"Work safety accidents must be prevented during the earthquake relief period and work should not hinder the smooth progress of relief efforts," added Huang.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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