Factory gas blast kills 17 in Foshan
2 Kunshan senior officials sacked over August blast
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.
A gas blast at the Guangdong Fuwa Engineering Manufacturing plant in Foshan, Guangdong province, killed at least 17 people on Wednesday.