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Xinhua Insight: Official blames factory blast on "serious dereliction of duty"

English.news.cn   2014-08-04 17:35:21

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- A senior official in charge of China's work safety said Monday that "very serious dereliction of duty" was behind a factory blast in east China's Jiangsu Province that has left 75 people dead and 185 others injured.

Of those injured, 95 percent are in serious or critical condition.

A total of 265 workers were in the wheel-polishing workshop of an auto parts plant owned by Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products in the city of Kunshan, Jiangsu Province when the explosion occurred at 7:37 a.m. Saturday.

The blast exposed poor management by the factory and inadequate implementation of supervision regulations by local government departments, said Yang Dongliang, director of the State Administration of Work Safety and head of an investigation team for the accident.

At a meeting of the investigation team on Monday, Yang said questions arising from the accident and initial investigation suggested that the factory had long failed to address related risks and problems.

There was "very serious dereliction of duty," given the excessive aluminum alloy dust inside the workshop, which was ignited by flames and caused the blast, he said.

Yang said the main reasons behind the accident were:

-- Design and construction of the factory buildings had failed to conform to safety provisions.

-- The workshop was overcrowded with too many processing assembly lines.

-- There was a shortage of dust removal equipment at the site.

-- There was substandard electrical equipment at the factory site.

-- Work safety measures had not been strictly implemented. Accumulated dust and powdered metals had not been cleaned in a timely manner, which led to the combustion of particles.

In factories and mines, the fast combustion of particles suspended in air in an enclosed space can result in a dust explosion.

Yang said further investigation should be conducted to find out where the flames came from.

Yang said the factory, Kunshan Zhongrong, shoulders major responsibility for the accident and local government departments were also to blame for inadequate implementation of regulations.

According to Yang, Kunshan Zhongrong's deputy general manager, who is in charge of work safety, didn't know dust could explode under certain circumstances. Many workers didn't receive any safety training, and they didn't wear fire-retardant clothing in the workplace, he said.

According Yang, local police have detained senior executives of Kunshan Zhongrong, including its Taiwanese chairman Wu Chi-tao.

Kunshan Zhongrong is a Taiwanese-invested company in Kunshan's economic and technological development zone, 70 kilometers away from Shanghai. Its website said the company has 450 employees and listed General Motors as a client.

Workers and ex-workers of the factory told Xinhua that working conditions there were bad and the workshop had been frequently filled with dust.

Li Haiqiong, a wrapper at the factory, said she had been to the wheel-polishing workshop several times and said dust was so heavy there it was difficult to recognize and see others.

An ex-worker, who gave his surname as Wang and said he quit the job after four hours, said the workshop was filled with dust and workers often emerged with dust-covered faces.

Wu Shenfei, chief fireman of Kunshan's economic and technological development zone, confirmed that the factory had caught on fire about two months before, but the fire was put out before firefighters arrived.

Jiangsu's Party chief Luo Zhijun has asked local hospitals to do everything they can to save the lives of those injured.

Shen Yuming, a doctor at the burn department of Beijing Jishuitan Hospital who was there to help, said most patients suffered burns to 80 to 90 percent of their bodies, posing an extraordinary danger to their lives.

Globally, it is rare to have a scenario in which so many people suffer such serious burns at one time, Shen said.

Editor: Mengjie
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