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Road, workplace accidents killed 125,000 in China last year, official data show



Official data shows that road and workplace-related accidents claimed the lives of nearly 125,000 people in China last year.

According to figures posted on the official website of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the national legislature of China, on Wednesday, 66,000 people lost their lives in some 282,000 workplace accidents in 2015, stemming largely from insufficient safety precautions in the workplace.

The report, citing Zhang Ping, the vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, further said that poor safety supervision was particularly responsible for deadly incidents in coal mines and steel factories.

Zhang also blamed the world’s second largest economy for giving priority to development over enforcing safety regulations. “There was a rising tendency to put an emphasis on development while overlooking safety.”

He saw inadequate law enforcement and outdated or even conflicting regulations and standards were the main reasons behind the high toll.

According to the report, workplace-related deaths have, however, dropped some 50 percent since 2002, when one million accidents were recorded. It said that 38 accidents with over ten deaths were reported in 2015.

Last year’s toll is slightly less than the 68,061 deaths recorded by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2014, while the number of accidents in 2015 dipped from the 290,000 reported in 2014.

Deadly accidents are fairly common at industrial sites in China, particularly in the mining sector, which has gained a bad reputation for its poor safety regulations. Earlier this month, two separate colliery explosions in Inner Mongolia and the northeastern province of Heilongjiang claimed the lives of nearly 60 people.

Two other coal mine blasts, in October and September, killed 33 and 18 people in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing and the northwestern Ningxia region, respectively.

This photo, taken on June 26, 2016, shows Chinese police inspecting the scene of an accident involving a bus that slammed into a roadside concrete barrier near Chenzhou in Yizhang county, in central China’s Hunan Province, killing 35 people. (By AFP)

Road accidents

Meanwhile, the NPC also reported that 58,000 people lost their lives in over 180,000 accidents on Chinese roads in 2015, citing the poor enforcement of traffic laws as a major threat to road safety in the Asian country.

The report said, however, that last year’s toll revealed a descending rate over a decade when compared with the more than 107,000 traffic accident deaths reported in 2004.

It said that the number of road accidents also declined greatly from 518,000 to 188,000 during the same period.

According to the report, violating traffic laws caused almost 90 percent of the road accidents in which people were wounded or sustained fatal injuries last year. Chinese traffic authorities had recorded the astonishing number of 442 million such infractions in 2015, it added.

Overloaded trucks and overcrowded buses and poor road and safety facilities, particularly in rural areas, contribute to the high frequency of road accidents, the report said.

The total number of road accidents for 2015 has declined from the 197,000 cases reported in 2014, but last year’s fatalities were almost the same as the 58,523 recorded in its previous year by NBS.

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