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Government's Work Safety Campaign to Go High-tech

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By the end of this year all vehicles carrying dangerous chemicals, fireworks or explosives for civil uses will be required to install satellite-positioning devices that can record their whereabouts, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) has announced.

This was part of China's increased efforts in 2011 to use advanced safety technologies to reduce fatalities and injuries caused by workplace accidents, Luo Lin, head of SAWS, said on Thursday at its annual conference.

The new rule for vehicles will also be applied to all tourist charter buses and cross-county long-distance bus services.

Other technologies that help to improve work safety would be applied to the country's mines, smelters, machinery makers and fishing vessels, said Luo.

The administration will make it compulsory for mining companies nationwide to install six safety and refuge systems in the shafts for monitoring production, positioning miners, ventilation, supplying water and communication, and providing underground refuge space, he added.

Of the systems introduced in the past few years, the monitoring, ventilation, water-supply and communication systems are now working in full at all of the country's coal mines, said Zhao Tiechui, deputy head of SAWS.

Zhao is also head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.

Zhao said coal-mining companies must act more quickly to install the six safety and refuge systems in 2011.

"Production permits will be revoked temporarily if (the companies) fail to complete the installation by deadlines," he added.

The administration took this approach because 2010 saw a rise in the number of workplace accidents that claimed at least 10 lives. This increase ended a period of declining severe accidents in the workplace.

The deaths from these accidents increased by 27.6 percent to 1,438 in 2010 from a year ago, according to figures provided by SAWS. The number of accidents that claimed 10 or more lives rose by 27 percent year-on-year to 85.

Luo blamed the rebound in such accidents in 2010 on frequent natural disasters, lack of attention to safety rules and shortcomings in accident prevention measures on the part of some local governments and companies.

"There are still many problems and deficiencies in workplace safety," he said. "The situation is still serious."

Meanwhile, the total death toll from all workplace accidents in China fell by 4.4 percent in 2010 from the previous year to 79,552. During the same period the number of accidents also dropped by 4.2 percent to 363,383.

Luo said the administration will introduce harsher measures this year to further ensure the implementation of safety rules.

The results of investigations into all workplace accidents that killed at least three people will be made public, he said. Punishment details for those held responsible for the accidents will also be released to the public.

Warnings will be issued to any province if three or more accidents, each with at least three deaths, are reported there in seven straight days, Luo added.

He also vowed to crack down on dereliction and corruption involved in serious man-made accidents.

(China Daily January 14, 2011)

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