Employees work on a production line of Great Wall Motor Co Ltd in Tianjin. (Photo: China Daily)
To reduce deadly accidents, the country will promote the use of automatic machines in some of the most dangerous industries in the coming three years while resorting to information technologies to intensify monitoring, officials said.
The Work Safety Committee of the State Council, the country's Cabinet, launched a three-year campaign on Thursday to "remove safety hazards at the root" and effectively curb major accidents in workplaces.
As part of the campaign, the country will endeavor to minimize the number of workers involved in the most hazardous parts in the chemical industry－one of seven sectors the campaign will cover－by promoting automatic machines, Sun Huashan, deputy director of the committee's office, said at a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office on Tuesday.
While accidents are also common in the chemical sector in Western countries, such accidents are more deadly in China, he said, citing the 2019 explosion that claimed 78 lives in a chemical plant in Xiangshui county, Jiangsu province, as an example.
"The biggest problem is our low level of work safety, with too many people involved in dangerous processes, posts and areas," said Sun, who also is also vice-minister of Emergency Management.
Automatic, intelligent facilities will be used to transform the industry so that fewer workers will have to work under high risks, he said.
Measures will also be taken to enhance management of the country's chemical industrial parks.
While raising the threshold for chemical plants to enter such parks and carrying out comprehensive risk assessment, China will ratchet up monitoring by establishing a system that can facilitate quicker, timely emergency response to any accidents in these parks and "stem them at the very beginning", he continued.
Shen Zhanli, spokeswoman for the ministry, said its fire service bureau and other relevant departments will soon roll out a joint screening effort that targets fire hazards in the sector.
The initiative follows moves by chemical companies to vastly increase their crude oil imports following a sharp decline in prices in the international market, thereby increasing the fire risks in their storage facilities, she said.
Li Haowen, an official with the ministry's general office, said similar transformations will occur in the country's coal mining sectoralso a key target in the campaign.
The number of coal mine sections that operate with automatic, intelligent machines is expected to increase from the current 280 to 1,000 by the end of the campaign in 2022, he said.
A remote monitoring system will be established in all coal mines to enhance the country's hazard management capability, he continued.