Introduction In 2002, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Occupational Diseases came into effect, in which the responsibility of employer, employee, the governmental agencies, the authorised occupational health service agency and other stakeholder is described, with the minimum objective to protect employees from occupational diseases. After that, the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress amended this law two times, respectively in Dec. 2011 and June 2016, to adjust it to the new situation in China. In updated version, the administrative role of government agencies, specifically the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), the State Administration on Work Safety (SAWS), was clearly stated. There are 7 Chapters including 88 items in this Law, namely General Provisions; Prevention before Running Stage; Protection and Management during Running Stage; Diagnosis of Occupational Diseases and Ensure of Victims with Occupational Disease; Supervision and Inspection; Legal Liability; and Supplementary Provisions. According to this Law, NHFPC and SAWS, jointly with other related Departments, are responsible for issuing the two important lists, i.e. the List of Occupational Hazards and the List of Occupational Diseases.
The employers are required by the Law:
to report the occupational hazards to the SWAS;
to prepare the report of pre–evaluation of occupational hazards before the company is planning to construct;
to prepare report of effectiveness evaluation of facilities against occupational hazards at pre–running stage;
to entrust the authorised OH service agency to carry out the monitoring of occupational hazards at workplaces;
to entrust the authorised medical institute to carry out occupational health surveillance.
NHFPC and SAWS have issued a series of regulations, standards or technical procedures to ensure the work mentioned above are properly finished. There is changing of these in recent years with the reform of administrative structures, economy and the transformation of governmental functions.
The Law states that the diagnosis of occupational disease must be based on the worker’s employment records, the qualified records of qualitative and quantitative exposure to occupational hazards at workplaces, and the clinical manifestation and results of auxiliary examinations, by the qualified medical doctors in the authorised hospitals.
Though there is Law, the occupational health problem in China seems still serious. The level of occupational hazards in some companies was not compliant with OELs and the results coming from the supervision and inspection were worse than the reported results coming from entrusting monitoring. A part of victims with suspected occupational diseases could not be diagnosed since there is no availably qualified records of occupational exposures. Terribly, a few illegal employers hire the workers in short period after knowing the knowledge of latency of chronic occupational disease, just like pneumoconiosis.
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