Archive for ‘industrial accident’

01/09/2014

China imposes harsher punishment to ensure workplace safety – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China’s top legislature on Sunday adopted a revision to the Workplace Safety Law which imposes harsher punishment on offenders.

Members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the revision through a vote at the bi-monthly legislative session held from Monday to Sunday.

The amendment further increased fines for enterprises involved in serious workplace accidents from the maximum of 5 million yuan (810,000 U.S. dollars) proposed in its original draft to 20 million yuan.

The quadrupled fine cap is stated in an added article which stipulates fines ranging from 200,000 yuan to 20 million yuan, depending on the losses incurred in the accident.

Under the old Workplace Safety Law, fines for enterprises violating the law were no more than 100,000 yuan or below five times the income earned from illegal operation.

Managers in charge of such enterprises who are found to have failed in their duty to ensure safety will also now be fined between 30 and 80 percent of their annual income corresponding to losses in the accidents.

This is a massive raise compared with the former law, under which managers faced fines between 20,000 yuan and 200,000 yuan.

The revised law states that managers responsible for “serious” and “extremely serious” accidents will be banned from serving as principals in enterprises in the same industry.

The regulation on work safety issued by the State Council in 2007 defines “serious accidents” as those causing 10 to 30 deaths, 50 to 100 serious injuries, or direct economic losses of between 50 and 100 million yuan.

via China imposes harsher punishment to ensure workplace safety – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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07/08/2014

After China Factory Explosion, Workers Petition for More Rights – China Real Time Report – WSJ

A deadly fire at a garment factory in New York City more than a century ago set the stage for widespread support a for labor movement in the U.S. that led to sweeping reforms of workplace-safety laws.

Now, some activists are hoping that a recent blast in eastern China that killed at least 75 workers and left 180 other injured can do the same here. Chinese labor-right activists are putting together a petition for the country’s legislators, which they say they hope might help to reshape the labor-rights landscape of the world’s largest manufacturing center.

The letter, circulating on Chinese social media, calls on unions to give workers the right to inspect work-safety conditions and to carry out collective bargaining with employers regarding labor-safety standards. It also calls for local governments to step up their supervision of work safety and for employers to respect workers’ rights.

The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire, which claimed the lives of 146 mostly female immigrant garment workers in New York—a garment-manufacturing hub at the time— inspired the U.S. workers to defend their rights. After decades of suffering, Chinese workers’ rights are still neglected, said the letter, signed by 15 labor-rights institutions and nearly 1,600 workers as of Thursday morning.

“China does have work-safety laws, but local governments don’t implement them strictly so some companies don’t take the codes seriously,” Beijing-based labor-rights researcher Wang Jiangsong said.

Mr. Wang, a professor at the China Institute of Industrial Relations, has been promoting the petition on his personal Weibo account.

“Under the current system, workers have no means to voice their concerns. That’s the root problem.” Mr. Wang said by phone.

China’s unions are controlled by the government, and recent efforts by workers to establish independent worker unions have been foiled by local governments, workers and activists have said.

An official investigation showed the most recent incident, which happened at a company that supplies parts for cars from General Motors Co. and other auto makers in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, was caused by an excess of dust that exploded after exposure to a heat.

The town’s local fire department said there was a fire alert from the factory two months before the explosion, which they said the workers extinguished before the fire engine arrived, the Beijing News reported on Monday.

Xinhua News Agency on Monday cited China’s official work-safety agency as saying inadequate supervision by local authorities was partly responsible for the blast.

The local government in Suzhou, which governs Kunshan, has suspended operations at 214 factories to evaluate safety risks, Xinhua said on Wednesday.

The explosion in Kunshan, which caught nationwide attention, is the most deadly among a series of similar accidents in China in recent years.

In April, a blast also caused by excessive dusk levels in the neighboring city of Nantong, led to eight deaths. Two years ago, aluminum dust caused a blast at a factory in the export hub of Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, claiming 13 workers’ lives and injuring 15, Xinhua reported.

“Excess levels of dusk is very common in Zhejiang, and it’s very dangerous for workers,” said Huang Caigen, founder of Zhejiang-based nonprofit Xiaoxiaoyu Labour Services, which provides work-safety training and legal assistance.

Mr. Huang said inspectors from local governments normally have close relationships with their town’s employers, meaning factories can often easily pass local work-safety inspections via their “public relations” efforts.

Although Mr. Huang admits that the most recent petition might bring about immediate change, he remains optimistic that persistence will eventually pay off.

“Maybe this time won’t result in anything, but if we keep on trying… I think we could make some difference.”

via After China Factory Explosion, Workers Petition for More Rights – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

07/08/2014

China suspends work at hundreds of factories after deadly blast | Reuters

China has suspended work at more than 200 factories in an eastern province for safety checks as part of a nationwide review following an explosion at an auto parts plant that killed 75 people, government officials and state media said.

Family members cry at a caring centre for relatives of victims of a factory explosion, in Kunshan, Jiangsu province August 3, 2014.REUTERS/Stringer

Officials have been ordered to shut all aluminium and magnesium factories – and others that generate metal dust – for safety violations, the Jiangsu provincial government said in a statement late on Wednesday. Some 214 factories in Suzhou and 54 factories in Kunshan have been shut and will not reopen until they obtain government approval.

It was not immediately clear how long that would take.

Provinces such as Shaanxi, Tianjin and Sichuan, as well as the Guangxi special administrative region, have also stepped up safety checks. The crackdown comes after a blast at Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co Ltd on Saturday, China’s worst industrial accident in a year.

State media has reported that investigators’ preliminary findings show that Kunshan Zhongrong bears the main responsibility for the blast in Jiangsu, which also injured 185 people when a flame was lit in a dust-filled room.

An hour’s drive from Shanghai, Kunshan Zhongrong polishes wheel hubs for automakers including General Motors Co.

“The suspended factories were found to suffer the same safety risk of dust pollution,” the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, citing the government in Suzhou, which includes the satellite city Kunshan.

Xinhua did not give further details on the factories or what they produced. Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces are known for their alloy wheel makers, with Jiangsu home to four of China’s top 10 exporters, according to the Automobile Association.

Many alloy wheel makers in Jiangsu have poor safety practices, the official China Securities Journal said.

Earlier this week, President Xi Jinping demanded a full inquiry into what happened at Kunshan Zhongrong and that those responsible be punished. China’s State Council Work Safety Commission ordered nationwide inspections and a safety campaign targeting factories that process aluminium, magnesium, coal, wood, paper, tobacco, cotton and plastic, Xinhua said.

Xinhua also said authorities would draw up comprehensive regulations for dust control at factories.

Police took at least two Kunshan Zhongrong representatives into custody earlier this week, Xinhua reported.

via China suspends work at hundreds of factories after deadly blast | Reuters.

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