The heads of centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) would be penalized in their annual work evaluations following major accidents, said a senior official on Tuesday.
That would also apply to those trying to cover up accidents, said Huang Shuhe, deputy director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.
Annual reviews are linked to compensation for SOE administrators, but Huang didn't specify the monetary impact of violations.
The administration has pledged to handle work safety issues with an "iron fist," as some central SOEs continued to have poor work-safety records this year. In the first 11 months of this year, central SOEs had 33 major work accidents (down eight from last year) that killed 192 employees (down six).
SOEs involved in the construction industry had the worst record with 25 accidents, equal to last year's record, and 150 deaths, a rise of 42.9 percent.
Huang urged central SOEs to invest more in production safety and set aside special funds for the purpose.
"If the funds are found insufficient, we will deduct the amount due from the chiefs' annual bonus to fill the gap," he said.
"Those who don't pay enough attention to safety, we won't let them feel safe either. Those who don't treat people's lives seriously, we won't treat their political prospects seriously either," he noted.
He said his administration would start to build a safety emergency center next year to step up supervision over hidden safety threats.
China has more than 150 central SOEs working in almost all sectors: coal mining, oil and petrochemicals, transportation, power and telecommunications. Accidents cause more than economic losses -- they also have a negative social impact.
These companies should carry out practice drills together with local governments to improve their emergency-response capabilities, Huang said.