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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Chinese chemical spill kills 13
Cigarette factory, Wenzhou
China has a very poor industrial safety record
Liquid ammonia has spilled from a burst pipe at a fertilizer plant in eastern China, killing 13 people and injuring 11, officials and state media have said.

The accident happened at about 0200 on Monday (1800 GMT Sunday) in a workshop at the Shenxian County Fertilizer Company in Shandong province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

One person died at the scene and others died after being taken to a nearby hospital.

China has an appalling workplace safety record, considered among the worst in the world.

In Monday's accident, seriously injured factory workers were taken to hospital for emergency treatment, Xinhua reported.

Safety pledge

Police and fire brigade officers evacuated at least 48 people from the factory as part of an "all-out rescue effort", it added, saying an investigation into the accident had begun.

It was not clear how many people were at work at the time, said an official from the provincial Work Safety Supervision Administration.

The Chinese Government has vowed to improved industrial safety and to punish the owners of unsafe workplaces.

"Enterprises turning a deaf ear to safety regulations and management processes are the main reason for the recent disasters," Zhao Tiechui, deputy head of the State Administration of Work Safety Administration told the China Daily newspaper on Monday.

His comments follow a string of fatal accidents in China's notoriously deadly mining industry.

Thirty-seven people died in a coal mine explosion in the north-east province of Jilin on Thursday and 115 people were killed last month in a single gas blast in Heilongjiang province.

Earlier on Monday, Xinhua reported that a further two miners had died in a flooded mine also in Jilin, with five more missing.

See also:

05 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
04 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
02 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
10 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
17 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
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