(AFP) – May 21, 2013
BEIJING — A blast which ripped through an explosives plant in China has left 13 people dead and another 20 missing, an official said Tuesday, compounding the country's poor industrial safety record.
Another 19 people were injured in the explosion on Monday at a three-storey workshop owned by Poly Explosives (Jinan), a state-owned company in the eastern province of Shandong, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Televised images showed orange-suited rescue workers combing through rubble after one building completely collapsed, leaving a framework of bent metal and scattered bricks.
An official in the city of Shangqiu, where the explosion occurred, confirmed the toll to AFP but said he was "not sure about the cause" of the blast in the factory, which Xinhua said had an annual capacity of at least 30,000 tonnes of dynamite.
Police were using DNA identification to help confirm casualty numbers, said Liu Xinyun, director of the Jinan Municipal Public Security Bureau, according to the news agency.
Rescuers were still searching for the missing but clean-up efforts had also started, it added, citing the rescue headquarters.
The company is a civilian explosives manufacturer and the plant was new, Xinhua said.
Safety standards are regularly flouted in China, and workplace accidents remain common despite repeated pledges by the government to improve regulations and oversight.
On April 1, an explosion in a coal mine in Jilin province in the northeast killed seven people and left 11 missing, three days after another blast at the same site left 29 workers dead.
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