Chinese steel mills told to step up safety checks after 17 killed by gas leaks
Firms also asked to provide emergency rescue training to workers, strengthen management and shut down outdated equipment
China’s safety bureau on Tuesday urged steel mills to step up supervision and safety checks after 17 people were killed over the past week in two separate incidents related to gas leaks.
Companies and local authorities should particularly improve supervision during maintenance, and gas storage and transport, the State Administration of Work Safety said in a statement on its website.
“Many unfavourable factors including increasing maintenance and extreme weather can easily cause production safety accidents,” it said.
Steel mills were also requested to provide emergency rescue training to workers, strengthen on-site management and shut down outdated equipment.
Company officials would be held responsible and production suspended if mills failed to strengthen safety measures, the bureau said.
Nine people died and two were injured on January 31 after a gas leak at a boiler at Shuicheng Steel, a unit of state-owned Shougang Group, in southern China’s Guizhou province.
Shuicheng Steel had not conducted routine examinations of facilities and had failed to create safe working conditions before carrying out maintenance at the boiler, the bureau said.
Workers did not take any precautionary measures, while two supervisors did not arrange immediate evacuation after the accident, it said.
A further eight people died and 10 were injured in a gas leak incident at SGIS Songshan Steel Plant in Guangdong province on Monday.
The incident was still being investigated, the bureau said.
China has made considerable progress in improving industrial safety, but scores of people are still killed every year in the country’s factories, coal mines and transport networks.
In 2015, an explosion traced to improperly stored chemicals killed at least 173 people in the port city of Tianjin, about an hour east of Beijing.
More recently, 10 people were killed on December 9 in an explosion at a biotech company workshop in the city of Lianyungang, eastern China’s Jiangsu province.