February 6, 2018 / 7:20 AM / 9 months ago

China urges steel mills to step up safety checks after deadly accidents

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s safety bureau on Tuesday urged steel mills to step up supervision and safety checks after 17 people were killed over the past week in two separate incidents related to gas leaks.

The sun sets behind a chimney of a steel mill in Tangshan, Hebei province February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic/File Photo

Enterprises and local authorities should particularly step up safety supervision during maintenance and gas storage and transportation, the State Administration of Work Safety said in a statement published on its website.

“Many unfavourable factors including increasing maintenance and extreme weather can easily cause production safety accidents,” it said.

Steel mills were also requested to provide emergency rescue training to workers, strengthen onsite management and shut down outdated equipment.

Steel mill officials would be held responsible and production suspended if mills failed to strengthen safety measures, the bureau said.

Nine people died and two were injured after a gas leak at a boiler at Shuicheng Steel, a unit of leading state-owned Shougang Group, on Jan. 31. The mill is based in southwestern Guizhou province.

Shuicheng Steel had not conducted routine examinations of facilities and had failed to create safe working conditions before carrying out maintenance at the boiler, the bureau said.

Workers did not take any precautionary measures, while two supervisors did not arrange immediate evacuation after the accident, it added.

Another eight people died and 10 were injured in a gas leak incident at SGIS Songshan Steel Plant in southern Guangdong province on Monday.

The incident was still being investigated, the bureau said.

Reporting by Ruby Lian and Josephine Mason; editing by Richard Pullin

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