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China law change would blacklist work safety offenders

First reponders at the scene of the Sinopec pipeline explosion last yearChina’s lawmakers have reviewed a draft amendment to the workplace safety law that will increase oversight, impose harsher punishment, and slap a ban on new projects for offenders.
The draft amendment is the first attempt to revise the law since it came into effect in 2002.

Official statistics show that more than 27,700 people were killed or went missing in workplace accidents in the first six months of 2013. Despite a gradual decline, casualties remain high and work safety is still a major problem, especially in mining industry.

Earlier this year, 48 people were punished for dereliction of duty after a deadly oil pipeline blast that killed 62 people and injured 136. The pipeline was operated by China’s biggest oil refiner Sinopec, in the eastern city of Qingdao.

Sinopec chairman Fu Chengyu and the mayor of Qingdao, Zhang Xinchao, were among the 48 people receiving disciplinary penalties.

The draft amendment proposes an increase in maximum fines from 50,000 yuan ($8,179) to 1 million yuan ($163,000) for companies using uncertified safety equipment in high-risk industries such as mining and dangerous goods storage.

Authorities also plan to blacklist offenders of work safety rules and make their offenses public. Blacklisted companies will be restricted from obtaining land-use permit, project approvals, bank loans, and insurance.

The amendment also allows regulators to shut down power supply or suspend production for persistent offenders.

Sources: Xinhua News, China Daily, Reuters


Hui Zhi is a Senior China Analyst with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.