China's workplaces appear to have become safer in the first quarter of this year, with sharp declines in serious accidents and resulting deaths, the work safety authority said on Tuesday. The number of major work accidents dropped 38.9 percent year on year in the first quarter, while the death toll from those accidents dived 42.9 percent, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) said in a statement. The number of coal mine accidents dropped 3.2 percent in the same period and their death toll dropped 37.9 percent. This improvement follows intensified efforts to ensure work safety, including in the fields of coal mines, transportation, and production of dangerous chemicals and firecrackers. However, SAWS head Yang Dongliang warned that China still faces stark challenges in ensuring work safety. He urged more efforts to make coal mines safer in 50 key counties, to implement safety measures for production of dangerous chemicals and firecrackers and to intensify pipeline and transportation safety.