Traffic and work-related accidents, which are grouped together in China's statistics, killed an average of 311 people a day during the first seven months of 2002. In all, there were 549,939 incidents, including plane and car crashes and mining and factory accidents, which claimed 65,350 lives.
In July, there were 245 major accidents at work, resulting in the deaths of 575 people, according to statistics issued by the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) and quoted by China Daily. The figures were 65 per cent and 42 per cent higher than in the same month of 2001. The report noted that private companies accounted for around two-thirds of those involved in each category. The coal industry had the highest number of casualties, and the report attributed this to the large number of small mine owners ignoring warnings from safety inspectors.
To improve work safety, the SAWS has launched nationwide safety spot checks in different sectors. It has also designated the coal mining and dangerous chemicals industries its major focuses for safety campaigns in the second half of the year.