Sunday, 25th January 2015

China mulls higher fines to ensure work safety

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Investigators work in a burnt shoe factory in Wenling, east China's Zhejiang Province, in this January 15, 2014, photo. Two owners and one manager of the factory in Wenling were detained following a fire, which killed 16 and injured five others, police said. (Xinhua Files/Ju Huanzong)Chinese lawmakers are considering imposing fines up to 5 million yuan (810,000 US dollars) on enterprises involved in serious work safety accidents.

Managers in charge of such enterprises who are found to have failed in their work safety duties will face fines totaling between 30 and 80 percent of their annual income, according to a draft amendment to the workplace safety law.

The bill was tabled on Monday for a second reading at the bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), to be held from Monday to Sunday.

Managers responsible for "serious" and "extremely serious" accidents shall never serve as principals in enterprises in the same industry, according to the bill.

"Serious accidents" are defined as those causing 10 to 30 deaths, 50 to 100 serious injuries, or direct economic losses of between 50 and 100 million yuan, according to the regulation on work safety issued by the State Council, China's cabinet, in 2007.

The regulation identifies "extremely serious accidents" as those that kill more than 30 people, seriously injure 100, or result in over 100 million yuan in direct economic losses.

The law, which took effect in 2002, has helped reduce malpractice over the past 12 years, but many problems still need to be addressed, said Yang Dongliang, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, at an NPC session during the first reading of the bill in February.

According to the administration, last year it investigated 44 serious workplace accidents and about 300 people were prosecuted for violating workplace safety laws.

Light punishment and lack of supervision are believed to be among the major reasons for negligence behind frequent accidents.
BEIJING, August 25 (Xinhua)