Oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases get new fo­cus 750,000 cases

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By XU WEI

China is set to step up its con­trol of oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases, with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment call­ing for the trans­for­ma­tion or phasin­gout of haz­ardous work­places and the ex­pan­sion of health in­sur­ance cov­er­age for af­fected peo­ple.

A guideline on the re­form and de­vel­op­ment of work safety, pub­lished by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment on Sun­day, said that en­ter­prises with work­places known to cause se­vere oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases must step up tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion and trans­for­ma­tion, or they will be phased out.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties should sup­port the fun­da­men­tal re­search, preven­tion, con­trol, di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment of oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases, the guideline said.

The coun­try will also ex­pand the scope of med­i­cal aid, and in­clude peo­ple who be­come dis­abled due to oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases in so­cial in­sur­ance cov­er­age.

China had re­ported about 833,700 cases of peo­ple with oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases up to the end of 2013, among whom 750,000 were pneu- mo­co­nio­sis pa­tients, Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

Liu Tiemin, a re­searcher at the China Acad­emy of Safety Science and Tech­nol­ogy, said China pre­vi­ously placed more em­pha­sis on the preven­tion of ac­ci­dents than on the preven­tion of oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases.

“Oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases gen­er­ally have a longer in­cu­ba­tion pe­riod. If we do not fo­cus our ef­forts on this prob­lem now, it will be im­pos­si­ble to solve the prob­lem in the fu­ture,” he said.

Liu added that it is im­por­tant for the leg­is­la­tors to make a spe­cial law and for the gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish a spe­cial mech­a­nism to solve the prob­lem.

“For work­ers who could po­ten­tially suf­fer from such dis­eases, it is im­por­tant to get di­ag­noses early and en­able them to re­ceive treat­ment in time,” he said.

The guideline noted that the coun­try is tar­get­ing ma­jor im­prove­ments in oc­cu­pa­tional health by 2020.

Liu added that it is also im­por­tant to des­ig­nate one spe­cial gov­ern­ment depart­ment to reg­u­late work­place haz­ards to re­duce red tape.

“In gen­eral, the ir­ri­tants for oc­cu­pa­tional dis­ease can also cause work safety ac­ci­dents. So re­duc­ing bu­reau­cracy would im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of gov­ern­ment su­per­vi­sion,” he said.

of re­ported oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases in­volved peo­ple with pneu­mo­co­nio­sis.

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