Chemical firm in China ignored law before deadly blast

PHOTO: Weibo

The Ministry of Emergency Management called for penalties for those responsible for an explosion at a chemical company in Sichuan province that killed 19 people and injured 12 on July 12.

The incident pointed to ineffective supervision and a lack of a sense of safety development from the local government.

The explosion, which occurred at Yibin Hengda Technology Co in Yibin's Jiang'an county, was the result of the company's disrespect for the law and regulations, the ministry said.

After the incident, the Sichuan government launched an investigation and paid compensation to the victims' families, according to the provincial information office.

The investigation found that the owner of the company began building the factory in July 2017 without approval from the local government, said Sun Guangyu, an official at the ministry.

The Yibin work safety bureau asked it to stop and go through the proper application procedure pertaining to the production of dangerous chemicals, but the company did not do so.

The bureau deemed the company's safety facility design substandard, but the company ignored its order to stop. When the explosion occurred, the main buildings of the factory had been completed, though most safety facilities had not yet been built, the investigation found.

There were no safety management systems in place at the factory when the explosion took place, the ministry said. Of the 19 dead, 16 were workers who farmed near the factory and lacked basic knowledge of safe production in the chemical industry, it said.

The deputy chief of a workshop had only studied for three years in a primary school, it said. He started working in the factory in February and was promoted to deputy chief of the workshop in June, even though he did not know all the chemical elements, the ministry's Sun said.

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