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August 24, 2011

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Watchdog to tackle site safety loopholes

CITY construction officials yesterday vowed to clamp down on safety loopholes, after two workers died when scaffolding collapsed last week.

Four workers were also injured in the accident last Thursday on a construction site for a new stretch of Metro Line 11.

Shentong Group, the city's Metro operator, said initial investigations showed the collapse was related to a loose base on the scaffolding.

The government is still investigating.

Shanghai's construction watchdog said the number of construction accidents increased substantially in the early part of this month, compared to July.

Storms and heavy rain were cited as possible reasons.

But the higher accident rate shows "there are alarming loopholes and much room for improvement in terms of construction site safety" in Shanghai, construction officials said yesterday evening.

They did not release the exact number of construction accidents so far this month.

Fearing more storms, the construction commission yesterday ordered all construction site operators to check and reinforce scaffolding.

When wind speeds reach a certain level, all construction operations must be suspended, officials said.

Watchdogs will increase spot checks, officials said.

The authority said the number of construction site accidents and fatalities in the first six months this year dropped by 23 and 25 percent respectively from a year earlier, without giving figures.

After Thursday's collapse, some construction workers said they suspected days of rains had softened the scaffolding ground base.


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