Penalties prescribed for safety violations

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-23 06:48

Officials and employees held responsible for safety violations will get their just deserts after the country Wednesday promulgated its first regulation detailing punishment to match their offences.

The regulation jointly issued by the Ministry of Supervision and the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) specifies the misdeeds and the corresponding disciplinary and administrative penalties.

Particularly targeted are those whose corrupt deeds lead to loss of life or limb in workplace accidents, Li Yizhong, head of SAWS, said. Corruption is seen as a major contributing factor to the rising number of accidents.

In October, there was a 26.1-per cent rise in coal mine accidents and a 44.4-per cent rise in related deaths compared with the previous month.

A spate of serious colliery accidents have shocked the country this month, notably a gas explosion in a Shanxi coal mine that killed 47 miners.

Government officials and employees of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) who are found culpable will be given a warning or a written censure, demoted or dismissed. Serious cases will be referred to prosecutors.

The regulation, which goes into effect immediately, specifies 25 misdeeds by public servants and 18 by SOE employees that invite punishment.

Among them are failing or refusing to implement national safety policies or laws; granting approval to operators who have not taken requisite safety measures; and hiding, lying about or delaying reports of accidents.

The regulation will also serve as reference when considering punishment for non-government employees who violate safety laws.

Li stressed that corruption, such as collusion of officials and businessmen, is a "shocking" phenomenon behind many accidents.

Chen Changzhi, vice-minister of the Ministry of Supervision, said that five of the 11 serious workplace accidents investigated last year involved corruption.

He cited two accidents as examples: One, a gas explosion in a coal mine in Wayaobao, Yan'an, Shaanxi Province on April 29 last year that killed 32 miners; and the other, water flooding in a coal mine in Zuoyun, Datong, Shanxi Province, in which 56 workers drowned.

"Some local government officials ignore people's lives," Chen said.

Chen added that thorough inspections would be conducted in tandem with the implementation of the new regulation.


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