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Work safety in China faces severe situation, despite progress

Updated: Dec 22,2016 7:14 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Although legislation has improved China’s work safety record, the situation remains dire, due partly to insufficient supervision, a report said on Dec 21.

The report on the implementation of The Work Safety Law by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee was submitted to the top legislature at its bi-monthly session.

Delivering the report, Zhang Ping, vice chairman of the committee, told a plenary session that accidents at work had dropped from just over a million in 2002 to less than 300,000 in 2015, with casualties in the same period reduced by more than half from 139,000 to 66,000.

The 2002 Work Safety Law was revised in 2014 with more clearly defined areas of accountability. Governments at all levels have worked harder to ensure the law is enforced since a State Council inspection system was established, and lessons have been learned from some major accidents.

As of October, 645 persons had found themselves in court this year as a result of work safety accidents and 1,483 more had received party or administrative penalties.

In 2015, there were 38 extremely serious or serious accidents -- those involving more than 10 deaths or direct losses over 50 million yuan -- with almost 300 casualties.

Inspectors found some businesses lacking the awareness of work safety, with outdated equipment and indifferent management. Responsibilities of authorities are still not clear, and some sectors, such as offshore oil production, lack supervision entirely.

Regulations and standards are out of date, and even conflicting, according to the report. Regulation lags far behind the development of production techniques.

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, attended the meeting.