Accidents kill 95,612 in 9 months
( 2003-10-24 01:15) (China Daily)
Accidents have claimed 95,612 lives throughout China in nine months this year -- a slight decrease compared with the same period in 2002.
Most of the accidents occurred on the nation's roads, at construction sites and industrial enterprises, in addition to coal mines, which continues to be of major concern.
Liang Jiakun, the safety administration's deputy director, admitted yesterday there are serious problems with production safety management systems at China's coal mines.
In spite of the many actions taken to improve safety, there is still much to do to make coal mining less dangerous, Liang said.
More than 2,800 coal mining accidents occurred in the first nine months of the year, killing more than 4,600 people.
Six serious accidents,which claimed more than 30 lives each, occurred during the period. The death toll from those incidents reached 309, up 25 per cent when compared with mass accidents last year that each claimed more than 30 people.
Serious accidents have also occurred in some big State-owned coal mines, which were previously held up as shining examples of safe workplaces.
But small, unlicensed coal mines are still the biggest killing fields and the key to preventing the loss of more lives, the administration's spokesman, Huang Yi, said.
The Chinese Government will take tough measures, including shutting down unsafe coal mines, to minimize the spate of accidents, he said.
Huang attributed the deteriorating situation to a reckless acceleration in coal production, which is being driven by brisk sales and rising prices of coal.
"Some previously closed, illegal mines have resumed production, while State-owned coal mines have accelerated their production at the cost of safety standards,'' he said.
Huang said a hit-list has been drawn up to curb the nation's mounting death toll. Among others, it concentrates on small mines that do not have minimum production safety facilities, State-owned mines that pose potential safety risks and State-owned operations that have had accidents since July that have each claimed more than three lives. They can either be closed down or have their production suspended.
The official criticized some localities for failing to balance regional economic growth with safety. He lambasted others for allowing dangerous coal mines to continue operating.
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