Gas leak at China steel plant kills three

SHANGHAI - A gas leak at an east China steel works Thursday left three workers dead and 10 injured, the government said, in the latest industrial accident to hit the nation.

The leak occurred at the Meishan steel plant in the city of Nanjing, with noxious gases poisoning the 13 workers, the city government said in a statement.

Efforts at a local hospital to save three of the workers were ineffective, the statement said, while three others remain in serious condition and seven were out of danger of losing their lives.

The causes of the gas leak is under investigation, the statement said.

The incident is the latest in a string of industrial accidents in China, where rapid economic growth and poor enforcement of safety standards have sometimes proved a deadly combination.

Safety standards are regularly flouted in China, and workplace accidents remain common despite repeated pledges by the government to improve regulations and oversight.

Nearly 50,000 people died in work-related accidents in the first nine months of 2011, though that was down 16 per cent from the same period in 2010, figures from China's State Administration of Work Safety have shown.

Earlier this week, an explosion at another steel plant in northeastern China killed 13 people and injured 17 others.

That blast happened late Monday when a 10-metre (33-feet) wide mold exploded at the plant owned by state-run Angang Heavy Machinery in Liaoning province's Anshan city.