BEIJING – An explosion in a coal mine in the Hunan province of central China on Tuesday killed eight of the 29 miners, who were working inside at the time of the accident, while one miner was injured, official news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.
The disaster took place at 1:37 am at the Zoubao mine, located in Lianyuan.
Seventeen people have been rescued and three are still missing.
In 2016, 44 serious coal mine accidents took place in China.
The worst accident occurred on Dec. 3, in a mine in Chifeng (in the Inner Mongolia region), killing 32 out of the 181 workers who were affected, according to the China Labor Bulletin, a Hong Kong based nonprofit that defends the rights of Chinese workers.
According to the organization, a total of 517 serious work accidents took place last year, out of which 459 accidents had recorded worker casualties.
Last December Beijing toughened workers’ safety standards, with measures such as optimization of national mechanisms for monitoring and management in the workplace and proposed a reform of labor laws and regulations to significantly reduce the number of accidents in the next three years.
In the past 14 years, there has been a fall in the number of workplace accident casualties in China; from a million accidents and 140,000 deaths in 2002 to 280,000 accidents and 66,000 deaths in 2015.