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.
China’s coal mine safety watchdog, the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety (SACMS), reported on 19 January that both the number of accidents and deaths in the country’s coal mines fell by around 20 percent last year. The number of deaths decreased from 3,215 in 2008 to 2,631 in 2009. And the number of accidents fell by 338 to 1,616, Xinhua quoted SACMS director Zhao Tiechui as saying.
A middle-aged pharmacist at a hospital in central China has been awarded 118,000 yuan in compensation after being savagely beaten by the hospital’s director.
Chen Yanqun suffered severe physical and psychological injuries when she was beaten around the head and body by Zheng Weibin, the director of Longtou Hospital in Chenggu county, Shaanxi, on 24 October 2008.
New labour contract regulations promulgated by the provincial government of China’s coal heartland, Shanxi, contain specific provisions designed to enhance job security and workplace safety for coal miners. But while these provisions might look good on paper, they will in reality do little to protect those working in the world’s most dangerous coal mines.
The government’s revisions to its Work-related Injury Insurance Regulations will go a long way to giving workers the insurance cover and legal protection they need, but lack the clout to force employers to comply.
In July 2009, Zhang Haichao voluntarily underwent an operation to open up his chest in order to prove he was suffering from the fatal lung disease pneumoconiosis. Photograph of Zhang by Yanzhou Metropolis Daily