At least 28 workers dead in separate coal mine and iron ore accidents

Two industrial accidents in two days during the National Day holidays have left at least 28 workers dead and several others injured, official Chinese media reported.

A gas explosion at a coal mine in the south-western province of Guizhou on the morning of 4 October killed at least 17 miners and injured another 11 working in the pit at the time.

Another 11 workers were killed and one is still missing after molten iron spilled onto them at a refinery owned by the Nanjing Iron and Steel Group. The accident occurred midday on 5 October while the workers were preparing to shut down a furnace at the refinery.

Although the number of work-related accidents and deaths in China has declined significantly over the last decade, there were still 79,552 workplace fatalities in China last year, with 2,433 deaths in coal mines alone. And tens of thousands of other workers are diagnosed with occupational diseases each year.

The system of workplace safety monitoring and inspection remains wholly inadequate and even if inspectors do detect violations of safety standards, they have little power to enforce rectification. It is usually only after an accident that remedial measures are taken.
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