Business / Industries

China's workplace safety improves

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-23 16:40

BEIJING -- China's workplace safety record has improved in recent years with the number of accidents and fatalities both down, said a senior work safety official on Tuesday.

Yang Dongliang, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, told national lawmakers at their ongoing bimonthly session that the number of accidents in the first 11 months this year was 269,000, down 4.7 percent on the same period last year. Fatalities dropped by 6.1 percent to 57,000.

His report to the standing committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) was that the number of "serious and extremely serious accidents" fell by 24.5 percent to 37 in the first 11 months and number of deaths caused by them decreased by 18.3 percent to 685.

A 2007 regulation defines "serious accidents" as those causing 10 to 30 deaths, 50 to 100 serious injuries, or direct economic losses of between 50 and 100 million yuan. "Extremely serious accidents" kill more than 30 people, seriously injure 100, or result in over 100 million yuan of losses.

Coal mine accidents dropped by 12 percent and the death toll by 10.6 percent, he said.

The numbers had all dropped significantly by 2013 from 2008, Yang said. He attributed the progress to better supervision and enforcement, harsher punishments, specialized work in high risk areas, including mining, rural roads and hazardous chemicals, and better infrastructure.

Since August, 453,000 inspection teams have made more than two million inspections in mining, oil-gas pipelines, hazardous chemicals and firecracker production, suspending production of 7,700 enterprises with safety problems and shutting down more than 5,000 companies.

More than 1,700 small coal mines have been closed since last year, with over 2,000 scheduled for closure in 2015, reducing the number of coal mines to fewer than 10,000 by 2016, he said.

A total of 1,613 people held responsible for major accidents over the past two years have been punished, including 509 on criminal charges.

There have been many improvements on the roads with 800,000 passenger vehicles tracked by GPS, and more 1.5 million drink driving cases brought to justice last year. More than 120,000 kilometer of oil and gas pipelines were checked.

The central government has spent 3 billion yuan ($484 million) each year, with additional 8.5 billion yuan coming from local governments and business, to support coal mine gas control technology.

There is also a much better emergency response system. Currently there are seven national mine accident rescue teams, 14 regional rescue teams, 16 rescue teams set up by state-owned companies and 10 rescue training centers, Yang said.

However, he said problems remain in high-risk industries and many enterprises lack adequate safety capability.

The meeting of the NPC standing committee runs through Monday to Sunday with legislators discussing draft laws and amendments and hearing reports from several government departments.

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