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Vice premier stresses importance of work safety
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Chinese vice premier Zhang Dejiang said work safety was a top priority in the country's industrialization.

Zhang made the remarks here Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the 4th China International Forum on Work Safety. The forum's theme is, "Safe Development Concerns People's Well-being".

He said the country was on a fast track toward industrial development but progress toward work safety was slow in some regions. Zhang did not mention any specifics.

Zhang said the government placed work safety as a top priority and had made great efforts to prevent accidents, however, the number of accidents remains high.

From Jan. to Oct. of this year, there were 339,956 industrial accidents in China. That's down 20.1 percent from a year earlier, the country's work safety regulator reported in Nov.

In Oct. alone, there were eight serious work place accidents which killed 91 people.

The regulator said in the past 10 months, 69,764 people were killed in various accidents including ones at coal mine. The number of fatalities was 13.5 percent lower compared with the same period last year.

China counts ordinary traffic accidents, even minor ones, as industrial accidents.

The vice premier urged relevant departments to continue to carry out the scientific development concept in improving work safety, establish long-term assessing systems, update safety technologies, arrange regular trainings and exchange experiences with foreign counterparts.

Before the opening ceremony, the vice premier met U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, Finland's Health Minister Lisa Hyssala and the Australian Ambassador to China Geoff Raby. They are all here to attend the forum scheduled from Nov. 17 to 20.

More than 400 representatives from 33 countries and regions were present at the ceremony.

(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2008)

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