Safety in China

Deaths from workplace accidents in China fall 12pc in 2017 to 38,000

Fatalities in coal sector down 28pc in the year, but risk of accidents remains high, official says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 January, 2018, 11:15am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 January, 2018, 12:11pm

The number of deaths caused by workplace accidents in China in 2017 fell 12.1 per cent from the previous year to 38,000, state media reported on Tuesday, citing figures from the country’s safety watchdog.

In contrast, fines for work safety violations rose 58 per cent in the year to about 3.3 billion yuan (US$521 million), China Daily reported, quoting Wang Yupu, minister of the State Administration of Work Safety.

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More than 4.6 million on-site inspections were conducted last year, Wang said but he warned China faced growing pressures in the workplace with about 43 million people travelling to work every day and 1 billion tonnes of hazardous chemical substances transported each year.

According to Xinhua, the number of deaths in 2017 in China’s coal sector – once notoriously unsafe – fell by 28.7 per cent from the previous year to 375. Following a series of nationwide campaigns against illegal mining, the number of deaths in the sector has fallen steadily from a peak of nearly 5,000 in 2003.

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A recent campaign against overcapacity in the coal sector has also helped boost safety, with 6,100 small-scale mines shut down over the course of 2017.

Huang Yuzhi, head of China’s State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, said that about 28 per cent of China’s coal mines still had annual production capacity of less than 90,000 tonnes, and were therefore more accident prone.