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Draft of production safety law under debate

CRI, August 28, 2014 Adjust font size:

A draft revision of China's Production Safety Law has been tabled for this month's session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

First enacted in 2002, the Law aims at protecting people's safety at workplaces, the law also deals with punishment measures when damages occur.

Experts and deputies of the National People's Congress are placing a lot of focus on the draft, all trying to better protect workers from hazards.

CRI's Min Rui has more.

After over a decade, the Production Safety Law welcomes its first amendment.

Chang Jiwen, a senior researcher at the Development Research Center for the State Council, attended a discussion session for the draft earlier this year.

He points out the biggest change of the amendment is the upgrade of companies' responsibilities and local governments' involvement.

"The amendment especially increases punishments for companies and people in charge. It will greatly help to prevent and curb illegal conduct that would jeopardize workplace safety. Secondly, the second revised draft stresses the role of local government in supervision."

The draft raises the level of penalty for the responsible party, up to 80-percent of its annual revenue.

The involvement of workers' unions and local governments in daily safety supervision is also stipulated.

But Chang Jiwen also warns these supervising responsibilities may be too much for a local government to handle, especially at village level.

"In fact, many village governments do not have or have little competence to supervise safety. So based on the current situation, it is very difficult for low-level local governments to take over the responsibility or assist superior governments. I suggest upgrading their personnel and other capabilities of supervision in the future."

There are also concerns over how big the role of a workers' union can play in supervision. Lv Wei is one of the deputies of NPC Standing Committee.

"We need a system of regular examination. Like in the Kunshan blast, I have seen news saying workers have reported many times about hazards at their workplaces, but no one cares. If the law states responsibility of workers' unions, what exactly are these responsibilities? How would people supervise the daily work? I think these are very important."

Earlier this month, a blast at a factory in Kunshan in the eastern province Jiangsu left some 70 people dead and 100 more injured.

Three people in charge of the factory were detained last week.

Further investigation is still underway.

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