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By MO JINGXI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-12 09:15
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Campaign aims to improve workplaces

Chinese authorities will launch a special campaign to improve workplace conditions in an effort to reduce the risk of occupational diseases-particularly pneumonoconiosis, a broad class of lung diseases-and protect the health of workers, the National Health Commission said in a notice issued on Dec 31.

The three-phase campaign aims to significantly improve conditions at companies, which are obligated to improve control over dust, toxic substances and noise levels by the end of 2025.

The campaign is necessary to meet targets set in a recently published guideline on improving occupational disease prevention and treatment in China during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25).

Between January and August, the commission, working together with local health authorities, will determine the list of companies to be involved in the campaign and formulate individual plans for every region.

The second phase of the campaign will last from September until June 2025. During this period, companies will be required to carry out feasibility plans to improve workplace conditions for occupations subject to excessive risk of occupational disease, prioritizing the use of technical measures to reduce the risk.

After the plans are implemented, professional reports made by qualified organizations concerning the risk of occupational diseases will be required. Local health authorities will also supervise company improvements in a coordinated manner.

The two authorities will assess the results of the campaign between July and December 2025.

Over the course of 2020, 17,064 new cases of occupational disease were reported across the country, 14,408 of which were either pneumonoconiosis or other respiratory diseases, according to statistics issued by the commission in July.

Universities tighten lab safety standards

Teachers and students at Chinese colleges and universities must receive training in laboratory safety, practical skills and procedures and pass exams before being allowed to use such facilities as China tightens university lab safety management.

A notice issued by the Ministry of Education on Dec 31 rolled out a series of measures aimed at strengthening the prevention of lab hazards to stop accidents and protect students and teachers.

Noting that safety is a red line that cannot be crossed, the notice requires the establishment of a lab security management system that specifically defines the responsibilities of all parties. While every university should set up a leading group for the management of lab safety, lab heads will be responsible for regular safety management, such as removing hidden risks and protecting individuals.

Colleges and universities are required to employ sufficient full-time safety management personnel for their laboratories, and annual budgets must include the necessary funds for these arrangements.

The ministry said that it will supervise and offer guidance to colleges and universities that fail to carry out the measures. Those responsible for accidents or incidents due to violations of the law or regulations will be held accountable.

In October, a lab explosion at a university in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, killed two people and injured nine.

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