BEIJING, Jan 25 (Reuters) – * China’s smelting and non-ferrous metals firms must step up their safety practices and face „strict penalties“ for non-compliance, according to new rules taking effect from March 1  * Companies should deal with „hidden dangers“ in the workplace promptly, the State Administration of Work Safety says in a statement published on its website on Wednesday * About 40,000 workplace accidents occurred in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, in the first 10 months of 2017, down 26.9 pct y/y, according to the state-run China Daily * Businesses that refuse to deal with identified threats face temporary shutdown and fines of 100,000-500,000 yuan ($16,000-$79,000); fines for individuals responsible will range from 20,000-50,000 yuan * Safety supervisors and inspectors will be punished for abusing power or neglecting duties, and face criminal investigation if appropriate, the statement says ($1 = 6.3357 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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