Sharp rise seen in fines for coal mine haz­ards

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HOU LIQIANG houliqiang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Safety watch­dogs fined haz­ardous coal mines a total of 333 mil­lion yuan ($49.5 mil­lion) in the first seven months of this year, al­most dou­ble the same pe­riod in 2016.

Au­thor­i­ties is­sued 3,967 ad­min­is­tra­tive penal­ties — in­clud­ing fines — be­tween January and July, an in­crease of 91.7 per­cent yearon-year, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased on Satur­day by the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Coal Mine Safety. Fines alone were up by 93.9 per­cent, it said.

The top watch­dog said the sharp in­crease is the re­sult of safety in­spec­tors vis­it­ing more mines than in pre­vi­ous years, while pro­vin­cial-level au­thor­i­ties have also been eval­u­at­ing min­ing prac­tices and car­ry­ing out sur­prise checks.

In­spec­tions have been con­ducted at 6,431 busi­nesses this year, 1,411 more than in the first seven months in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the data.

A total of 102,977 haz­ards were un­cov­ered, in­clud­ing 171 ma­jor safety vi­o­la­tions — haz­ards so dan­ger­ous or com­plex they can­not be solved by tem­po­rary or per­ma­nent sus­pen­sion but in­stead re­quire long-term at­ten­tion.

Man­agers have also been held ac­count­able and pun­ished, even if no ca­su­al­ties were re­ported at their mines, such as in Hei­long jiang prov­ince, where 15 man­agers were re­moved from their posts af­ter the dis­cov­ery of eight safety haz­ards, the top watch­dog said.

The num­ber of re­ported work­place ac­ci­dents in China fell by 25.4 per­cent yearon-year to 22,400 from January to June, while fa­tal­i­ties dropped by 17.4 per­cent

in fines were is­sued to haz­ardous coal mines in first seven months of 2017. died in re­ported work­place ac­ci­dents in the first six months of this year.

to 16,200, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment in July from the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Work Safety.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion did not dis­close the num­ber of ac­ci­dents or fa­tal­i­ties associated with coal mines, but it did say both had seen a de­cline.

How­ever, Xue Jian­guang, a spokesman for the ad­min­is­tra­tion, said at a re­cent news con­fer­ence that China still faces chal­lenges in en­sur­ing the safety of coal pro­duc­tion, es­pe­cially at small mines.

“It’s been a prob­lem that some small mines vi­o­late laws and reg­u­la­tions and con­tinue to op­er­ate af­ter be­ing or­dered to sus­pend pro­duc­tion,” he said.

Of the seven ma­jor ac­ci­dents re­ported at small coal mines in the first six months of this year — ac­ci­dents that kill 10 to 30 peo­ple, or se­verely in­jure 50 to 100, or re­sult in di­rect eco­nomic losses of 50 mil­lion to 100 mil­lion yuan — three were at mines that had re­sumed op­er­a­tion with­out of­fi­cial ap­proval, he said.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion will con­tinue to close small coal mines with an an­nual out­put of less than 90,000 met­ric tons, Xue added.

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