China sees occupational health improvements

Updated: Dec 25, 2023 Xinhua Print
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BEIJING -- China has witnessed a continuing downward trend of occupational disease prevalence in the country, with a 40 percent decrease in newly diagnosed occupational disease cases between 2019 and 2022.

Occupational health occupies a pivotal position in China's broader health strategy, and health risk management is deemed a fundamental measure in preventing and controlling occupational diseases at their source.

In this regard, the National Health Commission (NHC) in January 2022 launched a four-year campaign targeting workplaces with excessive dust, toxic chemicals, and noise across the country.

Over the past two years, a total of 185,000 enterprises have been included in the campaign, of which 71,000 have already implemented measures to address relevant risks, according to NHC data released at a press conference held on Friday in Beijing.

According to NHC official Wang Jiandong, the commission has also established a key laboratory for dust hazard protection to develop critical technologies for occupational disease prevention and control.

China's fight for workers' health goes beyond traditional occupational maladies. Equal emphasis has been placed on tackling emerging risks such as unhealthy work practices and excessive job-related stress.

Starting from 2019, China's occupational disease and health risk monitoring system has been covering all types of illnesses. Under this system, 95 percent of county-level regions and 314,000 enterprises, especially smaller businesses, are being monitored.

China has formulated work-related mental health promotion guidelines and tailored guidelines to improve occupational health for key groups like medical personnel, nuclear power station workers, and firefighting and rescue personnel.

Additionally, targeted monitoring and intervention for people in high-risk professions are underway in the country, and efforts have been made to raise public awareness of occupational health through various activities.

"Promoting occupational health in China requires joint efforts from the government, employers and individual workers," said Wang.

Another element of China's continuous endeavors to address occupational diseases is the promotion of "healthy enterprises," which offer improved working conditions and environments.

Based on data from the NHC, about 19,000 enterprises nationwide have been recognized as "healthy enterprises." In certain regions, such as Hubei and Sichuan, such enterprises are eligible for favorable policies, including lower premiums for work-related injury insurance.

"Further efforts will be undertaken to prompt all regions in China to introduce more incentive and reward policies for the establishment of 'healthy enterprises,' aiming to benefit a larger workforce," Wang said.

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