Fac­tory gas blast kills 17 in Foshan

2 Kun­shan se­nior of­fi­cials sacked over Au­gust blast

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By QIU QUANLIN in Foshan, Guang­dong qi­uquan­lin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A pow­er­ful gas ex­plo­sion at a fac­tory in Foshan, Guang­dong prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, killed at least 17 peo­ple and in­jured 33 oth­ers, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal au­thor­ity.

Three of the in­jured are said to be in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion and another 16 se­ri­ously in­jured.

The blast at the Guang­dong Fuwa En­gi­neer­ing Man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Shunde dis­trict oc­curred at about 9:30 am, when work­ers cleaned a work­shop as the fac­tory was con­duct­ing a year-end stock check, ac­cord­ing to Chen Yuy­ing, di­rec­tor of the Shunde in­for­ma­tion of­fice.

“An in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way into the ex­act cause of the ex­plo­sion,” Chen said.

The ex­plo­sion de­mol­ished walls and brought down ceil­ings, and it was strong enough to dam­age the steel struc­tures of the fac­tory, which mainly pro­duces auto parts.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity im­me­di­ately launched an emer­gency plan it had in place in the event of any such in­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to Chen.

“Most of the peo­ple have been trans­ferred to higher-level hos­pi­tals in Foshan for treat­ment,” Chen said.

The ex­plo­sion came one day after two se­nior of­fi­cials in Kun­shan, Jiangsu prov­ince, were re­moved from their posts after an ex­plo­sion at a car parts fac­tory in Au­gust that killed 146.

Ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua News Agency, Guan Aiguo, Party chief of Kun­shan and Lu Jun, the city’s mayor, have been re­moved from their posts, while Shi Heping, the deputy provin­cial gov­er­nor, and Zhou Naix­i­ang, the mayor of Suzhou, and Wang Xiang­ming, di­rec­tor of the Jiangsu work safety au­thor­ity, have been given ad­min­is­tra­tive pun­ish­ments.

In the Kun­shan ac­ci­dent, a room filled with metal dust ex­ploded at Kun­shan Zhon­grong Metal Prod­ucts Co, which pol­ished wheel hubs for car­mak­ers in­clud­ing Gen­eral Mo­tors Co.

China has tougher pun­ish­ments for ma­jor work­place ac­ci­dents since a new work safety law came into force on Dec 1.

Ac­cord­ing to the amended law, a ma­jor ac­ci­dent will re­sult in penal­ties of up to 5 mil­lion yuan ($806,500) while ex­traor­di­nar­ily se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents will be pun­ished by fines of up to 20 mil­lion yuan.

Penal­ties, in­clud­ing de­mo­tion or dis­missal and a fine of a cer­tain per­cent­age of the pre­vi­ous year’s in­come, will also be im­posed on the pri­mary in­di­vid­u­als re­spon­si­ble if an ac­ci­dent oc­curs due to a per­son’s proven neg­li­gence or wrong­do­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua News Agency, the num­ber of work­place fa­tal­i­ties dropped by 8.8 per­cent year-on-year and the num­ber of work­place ac­ci­dents by 2.6 per­cent year-on-year dur­ing the first three quarters of 2014.

CHEN JIMIN / CHINA NEWS SER­VICE

A gas blast at the Guang­dong Fuwa En­gi­neer­ing Man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Foshan, Guang­dong prov­ince, killed at least 17 peo­ple on Wed­nes­day.

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