Platform Collapse Kills Nine at Chinese Power Plant

Nine workers were killed and two others were injured when a platform collapsed at a power plant under construction in Guangdong Province, China.

The accident happened at about 8 a.m. local time on March 25 at the No. 7 Thermal Power Plant located in the provincial capital Guangzhou, according to Xinhua (the official news agency of the Chinese government).

Li Chibin, deputy chief of the work safety administration of Conghua District, reportedly told Xinhua that 10 people were working on the 40-meter-high (roughly 130-foot-high) platform and another individual was on the ground when the platform went down. Poor design and inadequate support was blamed for the failure.

China has a reputation for having subpar safety standards. In the past 15 years, the government has taken action to improve occupational safety and health conditions, but there still appears to be significant room for improvement.

Although reliable statistics are difficult to obtain, the China Labour Bulletin—a trade union advocacy group—reported that construction is the most dangerous industry sector in China. The group claimed that more than 35% of all Chinese workplace accidents in 2015 were construction related.

A report released by the International Labour Organization in March 2012 acknowledged that China had experienced “continual improvement of occupational safety and health” conditions for 10 years, but it said, “Developing a preventative safety and health culture is a long journey.” The report noted that the fatality rate per 100,000 workers in China’s construction industry was 31.0 in 2005—more than three times the national average that year—but it decreased to about 23.4 by 2009.

In November, 74 construction workers were killed when a scaffold platform erected for construction of a cooling tower at the Fengcheng power plant located in Yichun City, Jiangxi Province, collapsed. Nine people, including the chairman and the chief engineer of the plant, were arrested following that incident. It’s unclear if anyone will be taken into custody in conjunction with the Guangzhou platform collapse.

Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)

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