Senior officials of China's small coal mines have been ordered to inspect
mine shafts at least 15 times a month, according to new safety measures released
by the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).
Legal representatives of small coal mines are required to enter their mine
shafts at least ten times a month.
Small coal mines, which are defined as mines producing less than 300,000 tons
of coal a year, account for 90 percent of the country's total and more than
two-thirds of total fatalities from coal mine accidents.
In 2005, the death rate in China's coal mines was 2.81 for every million tons
of coal mined, 70 times worse than the rate in the United States and seven times
higher than that in Russia and India.
SAWS's figures show that coal mine accidents killed 4,746 people in China in