China to Spend $60 Billion on Workplace Safety, News Agency Says

The Chinese government said it will invest nearly $60 billion in workplace safety over the next 5 years, in an effort to "reduce the country's notorious industrial accident rate," the state-run Xinhua news agency reported earlier this week.

China has earmarked 467.4 billion yuan (U.S. $58.8 billion) for nine safety projects, with coal mine safety being the No. 1 priority, according to Xinhua.

Last year, approximately 127,000 workers in China died on the job, and there were 17 incidents with death tolls exceeding 30, according to Xinhua. Over the past decade in China, coal mine accidents have accounted for 58 percent of the serious accidents in which more than 30 people died.

The State Administration of Work Safety told Xinhua the plan aims to reduce the number of accidents with more than 10 deaths by at least 20 percent. China reported 73 such cases last year.

Another objective of the plan is to reduce the accident death rate per 100,000 workers from 3.85 in 2005 to 2.8 in 2010 in the mining sector and other industries.

The plan's strategies include safety training, monitoring of potential accidents and encouraging the reporting of illegal conduct.

One goal of the 5-year plan which is the first of its kind in China, according to Xinhua is to reduce the death rate per 100 million yuan (U.S. $12.6 million) of gross domestic product from 0.70 last year to 0.45 in 2010.

Workplace accidents have become a serious problem for Chinese businesses, which have been straining to keep pace with the production demands of a booming economy.

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