National teleconference on workplace safety held in Beijing

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee attached great importance to the crash of the China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735 aircraft after it took place. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, president of the People’s Republic of China and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered important instructions, requiring that all-out efforts be made in search and rescue and the aftermath be properly handled. He sent leaders from the State Council to Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, to guide this work. He gave important instructions on workplace safety on March 24 and heard a report on the handling of the crash at a meeting convened by the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau on March 31, at which Xi delivered a speech and arrangements were made for the follow-up work.

In his instructions on March 24, Xi pointed out that accidents occurred frequently in transport, construction and coal mines recently. The MU5735 crash in particular rang alarm bells again about workplace safety.

Xi stressed that Party committees and governments should take equal responsibility regarding workplace safety, and all officials should both fulfill duties and ensure workplace safety. He also underlined the need to maintain joint management and hold those who neglect their duties accountable. Industries, governments and enterprises should all assume responsibility for workplace safety. From practical work, we can see that there is still room for improvement in some regions and industries regarding workplace safety accountability and implementation of safety measures. Party committees and governments at all levels should act on the people-centered development philosophy, always put the people and their lives first, and adopt a holistic approach to development and safety. They should always maintain a high level of vigilance as if treading on thin ice to deliver a solid performance concerning workplace safety, and must never drop their guard. Accidents resulting from irresponsibility and dereliction of duty will be seriously investigated and people involved be held accountable. Principal leaders of Party committees and governments at all levels should coordinate safety work directly. Other officials should also perform conscientiously their responsibilities regarding workplace safety at every level. We must firmly oppose pointless formalities and bureaucratism. China will launch a nationwide inspection on workplace safety, crack down on violations of safety rules and laws, and eliminate all risks and hidden dangers with a strong hand, so as to resolutely prevent major and serious accidents and protect people’s lives and property.

In his instructions, Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, said the current workplace safety situation is still complex and grave. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, all local authorities and all relevant departments should fully implement the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, always put the people and their lives first, coordinate development and safety, and ensure there is no absence of accountability and measures are effectively implemented so as to prevent major and serious accidents. We will launch a campaign to promote workplace safety, draw lessons from recent accidents, reflect on the lessons, launch a comprehensive safety inspection to defuse major risks in a timely manner. We will severely punish violations of workplace safety laws and regulations in major industries such as mining, hazardous chemicals, construction, transport and fire safety. Those who do their work perfunctorily or fail to deliver will be held accountable. We will strengthen systemic governance, address problems at the source, focus on resolving acute issues affecting workplace safety, and speed up the construction of major safety projects so as to lay a solid foundation for workplace safety and better ensure safety for development.

To implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions, a national teleconference on workplace safety was held recently in Beijing to make arrangements for fully assuming safety responsibilities and improving workplace safety across the board. Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Work Safety Committee of the State Council, addressed the conference. State Councilors Wang Yong and Zhao Kezhi, who are both deputy directors of the Work Safety Committee, attended the conference.

Fifteen measures to further strengthen workplace safety accountability and prevent major and serious accidents were arranged at the conference. They are:

— Ensure that local Party committees be responsible for workplace safety;

— Ensure that local governments be responsible for workplace safety;

— Ensure that the competent departments be responsible for safety supervision;

— Call to account leaders and supervisors for any violations of safety regulations;

— Ensure that leaders of enterprises assume principal responsibilities for workplace safety;

— Launch a nationwide work safety inspection right away;

— Firmly hold to the red line for work safety in project approvals;

— Crack down on illegal subcontracting and license renting;

— Strengthen safety management in labor dispatch and flexible employment;

— Strike hard at illegal production and business operations;

— Address lax and weak law enforcement and inspection;

— Strengthen the safety supervision law enforcement contingent;

— Reward those who report hidden risks in workplace safety;

— Punish those who cover up, misreport, underreport or late report accidents;

— Coordinate efforts to promote economic development, respond to COVID-19 and ensure workplace safety.

Party committees and governments at all levels must put into practice General Secretary Xi Jinping’s instructions to the letter, stressed the conference. Everyone should enhance political awareness and take efforts to emphasize both development and safety and prioritize workplace safety as important measures to apply the new development philosophy in full, in the right way and in all fields of endeavor. In project approval, the red line of safety must never be crossed; in chemical industry, local safety and security risks must be prevented. Leading officials at all levels must fully perform their responsibilities, clearly define their respective tasks, and take solid, effective action. While strictly complying with the provisions in the amended Law on Workplace Safety that industries, governments and enterprises shall all assume responsibility for workplace safety, all relevant departments must quickly clarify and take on their responsibilities based on division of power, duty and locality. Swift steps will be taken to identify major risks and hidden dangers; once found, they will be listed, requirements made, responsibilities defined, and timelines set for remedy. Serious violations of law such as illegal mining and misreporting will be severely punished. All these will help halt the frequent occurrence of accidents.

Minister of emergency management briefed on the country’s workplace safety situation. Leaders of Guizhou Province and Civil Aviation Administration of China gave speeches at the conference.

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