Ex­pert: China needs a safety makeover

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XUWEI xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China should pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to en­sur­ing the safety of health­care work­ers and ru­ral mi­grants, since they are ex­posed to sig­nif­i­cant safety and health risks that are not com­pre­hen­sively gov­erned, a se­nior of­fi­cer of the In­ter­na­tional La­bor Or­ga­ni­za­tion said.

Deb­o­rah Green­field, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral for pol­icy, said China’s ag­ing pop­u­la­tion will pose more chal­lenges to its health­care work­ers, who will be in­creas­ingly de­pended upon for pro­tec­tion against com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases.

“There are also a lot of phys­i­cal in­juries as­so­ci­ated with lift­ing and po­si­tion­ing peo­ple who can­not take care of them­selves,” she­saidon­the side­lines of the 8th China In­ter­na­tional Fo­rum on Work Safety held in Bei­jing on Tues­day.

Mean­while, mi­grant work­ers, who form the bulk of the con­struc­tion work­force, also de­serve spe­cial at­ten­tion as for the most part they typ­i­cally lack em­ploy­ment con­tracts that se­cure ac­cess to rights such as ac­ci­dent com­pen­sa­tion.

“Gen­er­ally they don’t have very good health­care in their ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, so they are com­ing into in­dus­trial or ur­ban set­tings with deficits. They need to be ed­u­cated more and they need spe­cial pro­tec­tion,” she said.

China had 277 mil­lion ru­ral mi­grant work­ers as of 2015, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics. The num­ber is up by 1.3 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year.

Green­field also high­lighted the need for Chi­nese em­ploy­ers to raise their safety and hea lth s t an - dards as m o r e in fra - struc­ture com­pa­nies from China go g loba l with the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

“You want to com­pete in an eco­nom­i­cally sound way that in­cor­po­rates good safety and health prac­tices. Once you en­ter the global stage, you need to com­ply with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards,” she said.

Green­field noted that the ILO has no­ticed the con­tin­u­ous re­duc­tions in work-re­lated ac­ci­dents and deaths in China in re­cent years.

“China’s re­solve to cut over­ca­pac­ity in haz­ardous in­dus­tries such as coal min­ing has con­trib­uted to a sus­tained re­duc­tion in fa­tal­i­ties. We think it has also con­trib­uted to re­duc­tions in re­lated oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases, such as sil­i­co­sis,” she said.

YangHuan­ning, head of the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion ofWork Safety, said in a key­note speech at the fo­rum that it’s im­por­tant to pro­mote a strong cul­ture of ac­ci­dent pre­ven­tion and take in­no­va­tive mea­sures to re­form work safety reg­u­la­tions.

“We are will­ing to ex­pand in­ter­na­tional ex­changes in the work safety area and … strive to im­prove the level of work safety and the health­care level of work­ers,” he said.

The coun­try had about 282,000 work safety ac­ci­dents in 2015, which took the lives of 66,000 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Deb­o­rah Green­field

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.