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April 22, 2011

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Watchdog to step up work site safety checks

THE city's construction watchdog said it will step up safety checks involving underground excavations in the wake of a road collapse accident taking place at a construction site on April 12.

Government-assigned experts were still investigating the accident but early findings suggest it was caused by unsafe excavation procedures, Huang Rong, director of the city's construction commission, said yesterday.

The cave-in took place at 8:30pm on April 12 at the Wanda Plaza site in Baoshan District. The cave-in created a crater measuring 20 meters long and 5 meters wide. There were no reported injuries.

On-site workers last week told Shanghai Daily they believed moving earth from the foundation pit in order to create a parking lot could have triggered the collapse.

"Since the Jiaozhou Road fire we have been reiterating that watchdogs should check everything related to construction site safety. But the road collapse proved loopholes still exist," Huang said. He said the investigation will also determine those responsible for the road cave-in. This could include the project developer, the constructor or the engineering supervisor.

Huang said the watchdog will step up checks at similar underground projects especially since the city is digging many tunnels under rivers and for the Metro network.

In June 2009, a 13-story apartment building toppled over, killing one worker. The builder was later found guilty of ignoring safety rules while excavating a parking lot.


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