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China to Appoint One Mln Construction Safety Supervisors

China's industrial safety agencies Friday kicked off a campaign to employ one million construction workers as safety supervisors across the country to curb the industry's high accident rate.

The Ministry of Construction and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), which jointly launched the campaign, authorized hundreds of construction workers as safety overseers at an Olympic construction site in Beijing Friday.

The supervisors have the authority to evacuate workers in the event of any risk or imminent danger.

About 35 million migrant workers are serving in China's construction sector, where they are frequently exposed to safety risks.

According to the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), the construction sector recorded 2,288 accidents in 2005, involving 2,607 fatalities.

Last month, a two-story building collapsed as it was being demolished in Taiyuan city of north China's Shanxi Province, killing six workers and trapping 26 others in the rubble.

"Some of the accidents are attributable to the workers' lack of safety awareness and some to the companies' profit-driven psychology," said Zhang Mingqi, a member of the ACFTU Secretariat.

The ACFTU and SAWS are running a safety awareness campaign from May to September to train workers and to step up supervision of employers in mining, construction and manufacturing, which have the highest accident rates.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2006)

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