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Health and work safety a priority
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-06 06:19

Operators in the coal industry and water transportation sector have been warned to pay attention to work safety after the week-long Spring Festival holiday, which ended on Saturday.

Coal mine operators are urged to inspect and repair unqualified facilities as well as fully implement safety measures in mines, according to a notice issued by the Committee for Safety in Production under the State Council on Saturday.

All newly recruited miners must also receive training on safe production while those at special posts must apply for relevant certification before they start working, said the committee.

Also on Saturday, the Ministry of Communications issued an urgent notice, demanding water transportation departments take action to ensure the safety of passengers.

Work safety responsibility systems and safety checks should be enhanced and rapid aid response should be conducted in case of any emergency situation, said the ministry's notice.

This follows statistics showing that at least 22 passengers or staff members were killed in four water traffic accidents in January.

Statistics released by the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) revealed that 10,355 people were killed in 68,653 workplace accidents in January, including colliery and road accidents.

"Whereas the coal mines suffer from many hidden safety perils, frequent inspections should be conducted according to relevant regulations," said Premier Wen Jiabao in a written instruction concerning Wednesday's colliery gas blast in North China's Shanxi Province, which killed 23 miners and injured 53.

Inspection teams for coalmine safety will be dispatched to the provinces of Hunan, Guizhou, Chongqing, Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui and Xinjiang, according to SAWS.

"Examination efforts will focus on collieries that had been asked to shut and those that were required to enhance health and safety measures," said Li Yizhong, head of SAWS, in a televised conference yesterday.

State-owned collieries must endeavour to eradicate hidden perils and prevent over production (at the expense of safety), said Li.

According to Li, 5,938 coal miners were killed in 3,306 accidents in 2005, in a year that also witnessed the closure of 5,243 coal mines due to safety shortcomings.

(China Daily 02/06/2006 page2)

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