En­ergy sec­tor fac­ing more safety in­spec­tions

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By XU WEI xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s work safety watch­dog will step up checks and su­per­vi­sion in the en­ergy sec­tor, in­clud­ing coal mines, and oil and gas pro­duc­tion and trans­porta­tion, as ris­ing en­ergy prices drive up the mo­ti­va­tion for il­le­gal pro­duc­tion.

The coun­try saw five ma­jor work safety in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing four in­volv­ing coal mines, in the past three months, with at least 179 peo­ple los­ing their lives, ac­cord­ing to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Work Safety.

In the wake of the in­ci­dents, the author­ity said at a work con­fer­ence on Mon­day that it will crack down on il­le­gal coal mine pro­duc­tion and ac­tiv­i­ties that ex­ceed des­ig­nated mine ca­pac­ity, and step up the phas­ing out of small coal mines to pre­vent ma­jor ac­ci­dents, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased on Wed­nes­day.

The coun­try’s in­ten­si­fied ef­fort to cut over­ca­pac­ity has led to huge rises this year in bulk com­mod­ity prices, es­pe­cially for ther­mal coal.

The ris­ing price has fu­eled il­le­gal pro­duc­tion in some ar­eas, with some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and com­pa­nies fail­ing to con­duct timely safety checks and as­sume work safety re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, the watch­dog said on its web­site on Wed­nes­day.

The fact that China’s over­all eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion is pick­ing up, cou­pled with ris­ing en­ergy de­mand in win­ter, has re­sulted in the restora­tion of fac­tory ac­tiv­i­ties and over­loaded pro­duc­tion.

“We are ex­pect­ing even big­ger pres­sure for work safety in the com­ing pe­riod,” the author­ity said in the state­ment.

The re­cent ma­jor coal mine in­ci­dents were all cases in­volv­ing gas ex­plo­sions and have been found to have vi­o­lated work safety reg­u­la­tions, the watch­dog said. At least 86 miners were killed in re­cent in­ci­dents in Chongqing, Hei­long jiang prov­ince and the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

In an­other in­ci­dent, 74 work­ers were killed and two in­jured af­ter a work plat­form in an un­fin­ished cool­ing tower col­lapsed in Fengcheng, Jiangxi prov­ince, on Nov 24. The in­ci­dent is the most deadly of its kind in the coun­try’s elec­tric power con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

The author­ity said it will also strengthen the pa­trolling and su­per­vi­sion of closed and sus­pended mines, and set up strict stan­dards for re­open­ing mines.

It also warned of road safety haz­ards and the trans­porta­tion of dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals in the win­ter, which could be vul­ner­a­ble to bliz­zards, fog and cold snaps.

Ac­cord­ing to the author­ity, the coun­try saw 4,804 work safety in­ci­dents in Novem­ber, which led to the deaths of 3,479 peo­ple. The num­ber of in­ci­dents and that of peo­ple killed were down by 4.5 per­cent and 6.3 per­cent year-on-year.

LI AN / XIN­HUA

Feed­ing frenzy

A worker spreads feed for swans at the Yel­low River Wet­land Na­ture Re­serve in San­menxia, He­nan prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. More than 10,000 swans stay at the re­serve through the win­ter ev­ery year.

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