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There are well over a million work-related injuries in China every year, yet many of the government’s newly established rehabilitation centres lie empty because poorly-paid migrant workers, who are the main victims of accidents, are either unaware of their existence or simply cannot get in.
At least six people died and 22 were injured during a massive explosion at a firecracker factory in rural Henan, the official Chinese media reported today. All of the dead and injured were local villagers employed at the factory in Luohe’s Yancheng district. The explosion, which occurred late afternoon on 19 January, lit up the evening sky for about four hours and completely razed the football field-sized factory to the ground, local officials said.
In many ways, Lan Yimin represents the new generation of Chinese factory workers. She wants fair working conditions. Time off to socialize. And a job that pays enough so she can open a milk tea business one day.
Concerned about rebalancing of the world economy? Then set aside the G-20 and all the complicated wrangling over exchange rates and ponder instead the story of a one-handed former Chinese factory worker.
A 21-year-old migrant worker from Hunan, who lost a hand in a work-related accident last year, is challenging legal provisions that limit the amount of compensation workers can receive, irrespective of the employer’s culpability in the accident. In July 2009, Ruan Libing, a newly recruited employee at Elec-Tech in Zhuhai, had his left hand crushed whist operating machinery at the plant. His hand was amputated in a subsequent hospital operation. Even though his working life was effectively over, Ruan received just the statutory compensation payment of approximately 90,000 yuan.
It was a bold, even desperate, attempt by China's leaders to cut the shocking death toll in its pits: send bosses into the shaft with the miners. But Chinese media reported today that one mine had responded by appointing substitutes, increasing cynicism about whether senior mine staff will comply
The death toll in yesterday’s explosion at a fireworks factory in northeastern China has risen to 19, with more than 150 injured or missing. It is still not known for sure how many workers were in the factory at the time.
The standard compensation award for work-related injuries and death will be substantially increased next year, the state council announced Monday 26 July. From 1 January 2011, the basic one-time compensation award for work-related death will be raised from 200,000 yuan to 343,500 yuan. And when funeral expenses and monthly pension payments to the relatives of the deceased are included, the total payment will come to around 618,000 yuan on average.
At least 47 miners were killed and dozens more severely injured when an explosion ripped through a privately-run coal mine in Henan in the early hours of Monday morning. The Xingdong No 2 coal mine in Pingdingshan had been operating without a valid licence since 6 June, the official Xinhua news agency reported
China cut mining deaths by almost a fifth last year, according to state media, despite a spate of disasters towards the end of the year. The coal industry is one of the world's deadliest, but a government safety drive has closed thousands of mines and slashed the toll from 6,027 in 2004 to 2,631 in 2009 – still equivalent to more than seven a day.

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