Prosecutors to target lax industrial safety chiefs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2007, 12:00am

State prosecutors have vowed to crack down on administrative abuses, which have become a direct cause of many fatal industrial accidents on the mainland, the People's Daily reported yesterday.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate prosecuted 629 officials involved in 1,383 major industrial accidents last year, the report said. It said 555 of them had been charged with neglect of duty, 49 with abuse of power and 25 with bribery and other offences.

The procuratorate said it would focus investigation and prosecution on five areas.

These are: officials responsible for reporting unsafe production accidents but who do not do so or do so falsely; officials who vet operations but give permission to those that are not qualified; those who supervise safety standards of operations but fail to sanction them when required; officials who help illegal or substandard operations obtain safe production qualifications; and those who order or bribe other officials to cover up operations.

The procuratorate said it must strengthen communication and co-operation with administrative departments in the investigation of major accidents.

A new set of guidelines will be released soon, providing for the procuratorate to take part in all major accident investigation teams, set up by the State Council or local governments, whether it has been invited to become involved or not.

The mainland is notorious for coal mine accidents, which claimed 5,986 lives in 2005. The death toll dropped 20.1 per cent last year, but officials have highlighted corruption as a major obstacle to improving the industry's safety standards.