Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Double tragedy in the PRC

Two further industrial tragedies have been reported, one in a fireworks factory and another one on a construction site:
The death toll from a massive explosion at a fireworks factory in north-east China has risen to at least 19 workers, with five still missing.

Up to 50 people were working at the fireworks factory in the Heilongjiang province city of Yichun when it was rocked by the explosion on Monday, damaging nearby buildings and sparking secondary blasts.

Xinhua News Agency reported the new death toll.

A total of 153 people were injured by the blast, which could be felt up to 2 miles away and smashed windows in the local government offices and other buildings, Xinhua said.

The tally appeared to include workers at the factory as well as people in the surrounding area.

Safety is lax at Chinese fireworks plants and accidents are common. Dozens of people also die each year from unsafe handling of fireworks while celebrating weddings and traditional holidays.

In another industrial accident on Monday, an elevator plunged on a construction site, killing 11 workers. Investigators were looking into the cause of the accident in the city of Mihekou in the north-eastern province of Jilin. (1)
Total of thirty dead, plus a huge number of injured.

The article goes on to note that safety standards have been improving, with some 4000 fewer deaths in 2009, compared to 2002. That's arguable; while it is likely there have been some improvements, it is also likely that deaths are not being reported, or are being intentionally misreported to avoid consequences.

1 "Fireworks blast toll rises to 19," unattributed article. Published by UKPA, 17th of August, 2010. Hosted by Google news. (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jARHE6NUHPu_IcqjE8kp4yHKDfgQ)

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