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China says families of 74 workers killed to receive payments

Posted November 30

— The Chinese engineering firm responsible for building a cooling tower where 74 workers were killed has offered about $175,000 in compensation to each of the victims' families, state media reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency said all the workers' families had agreed to accept the compensation, although it was impossible to independently verify that claim.

The workers were building a tower at a power plant last week in eastern China's Jiangxi province when scaffolding inside collapsed. It was one of the deadliest workplace accidents in recent years, bringing new attention to China's problems with ensuring worker safety and raising questions about whether regulations were followed.

An explosion last year at a warehouse in Tianjin killed 165 people, less than a year after an explosion at an auto parts factory in the eastern city of Kunshan killed 146 people.

Authorities have moved swiftly after the latest accident, possibly to head off any protests or unrest over another high-profile instance of mass worker deaths. Police have already detained 15 company executives and other officials deemed responsible for the project, including the board chairman of Hebei Yineng, the engineering firm reported to be paying compensation to the families.

Xinhua reported on Wednesday that the bodies of the dead workers had already been cremated, and most of the families had been paid the agreed to amount of compensation.

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