Work safety highlighted before leadership transition

Updated: 2012-02-06 10:15


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BEIJING - In the wake of steep human cost in its coal mines and on its roads, China is seeking to improve workplace safety ahead of its upcoming leadership transition.

In its 2012 working points promulgated late Friday, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) called for the application of high-tech devices such as information platforms and satellite positioning equipment in order to prevent deadly accidents.

"Governments and enterprises should establish as soon as possible a comprehensive information platform which tracks hidden dangers in the workplace... Transport authorities should boost the installation of satellite positioning equipment on long-distance coaches, vehicles carrying dangerous chemicals and school buses," said the document released on the SAWS' website.

This year will witness the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The CPC leadership has called for outstanding economic and social progress to pave the way for a successful CPC congress.

Official data showed workplace accidents claimed a total of 75,572 lives in China last year. The calculation included traffic accidents arousing much public attention.

Last July, a high-speed train collision in eastern Zhejiang province killed 40 passengers and injured 172 others. Design flaws and mismanagement were blamed for the disastrous crash.

In December, a school bus overturned and fell into a ditch in East China's Jiangsu province, killing 15. Another school bus accident in the western Gansu province killed 21 people in November.

According to the administration's figures, 2,433 miners were killed in coal mine accidents in China in 2010, compared with 2,631 in 2009. Figures for 2011 are so far not available.

"Despite the decrease in colliery accidents, local authorities must have a clear understanding of the extreme importance of coal mine safety, especially ahead of the coming two sessions," said Zhao Tiechui, deputy director of the SAWS on Friday.

The two annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference are typically held in March.

The State Council, or Cabinet, admitted at a meeting in September that the country faces an arduous task in improving work safety, as rapid industrialization and urbanization have made workplace accidents more commonplace.

By 2015, companies across the country should improve their ability to prevent accidents, while government departments should improve their ability to supervise these companies, the cabinet said in a statement released after the September meeting.