Beijing: Negligence of duty was the reason for the fatal factory fire in China`s northeastern Jilin Province which killed 120 employees while worker safety was a "total mess", a top official said on Thursday.
The fire on Monday morning also injured 77 workers at a poultry processing plant in Dehui City and was an accident due to negligence of duty by company management and supervising authorities, according to Yang Dongliang, director of the State Administration of Work Safety.
He was speaking at a meeting of the investigative work team.
"As the main body of work safety enforcement, the company bears unshirkable responsibility for the accident, while the government is also responsible for its management and supervision duties," Yang, who also heads the work team said.
An initial investigation by the team showed that work safety management in the Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Company was a "total mess," according to Yang.
He said the company, with inadequate work safety rules, had failed to implement an accountability system for workplace safety and remove work safety hazards thoroughly.
The company never conducted any evacuation drills or provided safety awareness education among its employees, according to the investigation.
The investigation also indicated that evacuation at the initial stage of the accident was poorly organised partly due to emergency exits being either locked or blocked.
"The accident has revealed that local governments and related authorities failed to carry out their responsibility of supervision and give thorough and effective checks," Yang said, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.
The company`s board chairman, Jia Yushan, as well as its general manager, Zhang Yushen, have been detained, while the firm`s bank account has been frozen.
Yang asked the work team to use all its efforts to look into the exact cause of the accident and make those responsible accountable.
He also ordered checks and an overhaul in all sectors across the country, especially in fields with high risks such as mining, transportation and manufacturing of dangerous chemicals.