BEIJING, April 24 Lax safety measures, unsuitable
equipment and "chaotic" conditions have been blamed for the
deaths of 32 steel workers engulfed in molten metal, Chinese
investigators announced, warning that such failings were common.
The men died at a steel plant in northeast China's Liaoning
province last week when a huge ladle filled with molten metal
sheared off a rail, spilling its 1,500 degrees Celsius (2,730 F)
The accident sparked a public outcry and four company staff
have been detained by police.
China's State Administration of Work Safety announced late on
Monday that the Qinghe Special Steel Co. Ltd. had been using an
ordinary hoist not designed for dangerous smelting work.
"Management at the worksite was chaotic," said the report
issued on the Chinese government Web site (www.gov.cn).
"Equipment and materials inside the workshop were messy, the
work space was narrow, and safety passages did not meet
At the time of the tragedy, the workers were swapping shifts
and were holding a handover meeting just five metres from the
fiery vacuum furnace, the report said.
The molten steel poured through windows and a door into the
room where they were gathered.
The accident highlighted perilous conditions in the
feverishly expanding metal sector, investigators said, as China
struggles to meet demand for steel from its booming economy.
"Some firms cannot adapt to the demands of rapid expansion
and ignore safety," the report said. "Safety inspection is not in
place, leading to multiple accidents."
In 2006, 244 metal industry workers died in workplace
accidents, a rise of 48 percent on a year earlier, investigators
"Work safety conditions in the metallurgy sector are
extremely grim," the report said.