“Chaotic” management the cause of deadly mine blast in China

China’s deadliest mine blast in three years claimed the lives of 43 workers this weekend, and now chaotic management and safety violations are apparently to blame.

Associated Press is reporting that a preliminary report on the cause of the Sunday blast is pointing the finger at management who violated production limits meant to protect the workers and the mine:

“Though the Xiaojiawan coal mine in southwestern Sichuan province was licensed to operate, it had been exceeding its production capacity in violation of safety standards.

Rescuers were still searching for three miners who remained trapped underground after the explosion on Wednesday afternoon in the coal-rich city of Panzhihua, but their chances of survival were slim. State media said the three workers were believed to be located at the centre of the blast.

A preliminary probe found that the accident happened because production had not been stopped despite a high density of gas and that safety monitoring equipment was inadequate. More miners had been sent to work underground than were allowed to, the report cited the head of the State Administration of Work Safety, Yang Dongliang, as saying.

There were 154 miners working at the mine when the explosion occurred, and 108 survivors have been pulled to the surface.”

The last time miners suffered a trauma like this was in 2009, when a mine explosion killed 108 people. Zee News is now reporting that the country is set to shut some 625 small coal mines in the name of improving safety practices:

“The State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) said the country aims to close another 625 small coal mines this year in an attempt to reduce the number of deadly accidents…

A SAWS spokesman, Huang Yi, said earlier that coal mining remains a high-risk industry in the country despite improvements over the past decade.

Yi said studies showed that 35 workers are currently killed in coal mines in China for every 100 million tonnes of coal output in the country, about 10 times the death rate in United States.

Government data showed that 1,973 miners were killed in coal mine accidents in 2011.

Small coal mines, which account for about 85 percent of the nation’s 12,000 mines accounting for one third of the output, caused two thirds of all deaths in the sector due to poor safety provisions, he said.”

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