Accidents in Beijing Claim 1,144 Lives in 2004

Traffic accidents, fires and workplace accidents claimed the lives of 1,144 people during the first eight months of 2004 in the city of Beijing alone, according to statistics from the Beijing Production Safety Bureau.

There are 26 more fatalities this year than during the same time period in 2003 period. Li Jianwei, deputy director of the bureau, admitted that although much effort has been made to promote safety measures, including workplace inspections and driver education programs, workplace safety remains a challenge for employers in Beijing.

Of the total deaths, 974 people were killed in traffic tragedies, 43 died as a result of fires and 127 others were killed in workplace accidents. The statistics show that of the total deaths at workplaces, 65 workers died in construction accidents, 26 at coal mines and 13 were killed at manufacturing facilities. By constrast, in 2002, the last year for which statistics are available, a total of 5,524 workers were killed nationwide in the United States 1,149 in construction, 123 in mining and 563 in manufacturing.

June was a particularly bad month in Beijing, with a June 6 cave-in at a coal mine claiming the lives of 10 workers, while a June 10 fire at an office building killed nine workers.

Li said that new regulations governing workplace safety that take effect Sept. 1 are expected to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities.

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