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Union leaders highlight safety
( 2003-08-01 09:18) (China Daily)

Trade union leaders and delegates from more than 30 provinces and cities gathered in the capital of East China's Jiangsu Province to study and discuss the "One method and three cards" workplace-safety system on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Jiangsu has used "One method and three cards" since the early 1990s to ensure workplace safety. By the end of last year, more than 10,000 enterprises and factories in the province had adopted it.

Zhang Yan, chairwoman of the Jiangsu Province Federation of Trade Unions, said "one method" refers to a system used to monitor and control hidden perils that could lead to major accidents and dangers in the workplace.

Under the method, workers examine and evaluate their workplaces at regular intervals. Whenever and wherever hidden perils are uncovered, the departments concerned then draw up plans to get rid of them.

"The method urges workers themselves to pay close attention to the safety of their working environment, which greatly reduces the number of accidents," Zhang said.

Three kinds of cards are used in the method. The first type reminds inspectors of safety standards, the second gives information about poisonous chemicals, and the last kind provides warnings about dangerous locations.

Since most inspectors are ordinary workers with no professional knowledge of safety inspections, the reminder cards are especially useful because they list different safety standards for 105 types of work, Zhang said.

Both the information cards and the warning cards are hung in the workplaces of enterprises that deal with dangerous things, such as chemical factories and electric power plants.

Some enterprises even make information cards about different poisonous chemicals for their workers to study in the spare time.

One worker from the Yue Jin Automobile Factory said: "We used to drink water when working on the production line. We found out from the information cards that this is dangerous for our health because the floating dust in the air can easily drop into the water."

Ji Mingbo, a member of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions secretariat, said: "The measure is an important way to protect workers from being injured or poisoned during production, especially given that many serious accidents have happened and many employees do not know how to protect themselves."

Xi Yongming, Nanjing's vice-mayor and director of the city's safety committee, said: "We have spared no effort to supervise and urge enterprises and factories in the city to adopt 'One method and three cards.' Happily, there have been no serious accidents in Nanjing for 10 years."

However, there were seven accidents classified as extraordinarily serious in China as a whole between January and June this year, killing a combined total of 349 people. An accident is classified as "extraordinarily serious" if at least 30 people are killed.

Compared with the same period of last year, there were four more "extraordinarily serious" accidents and 58 more people were killed.

More than 500,000 enterprises in China deal with poisonous chemicals. They employ about 33.8 million people, who account for over 30 per cent of China's industrial workers.

The numbers of pneumoconiosis patients and poisoned workers have been increasing, as have the numbers of those suffering from new industrial diseases and poisoning cases caused by new materials and new technologies.

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