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August 14, 2009

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Employers on hook for work-related illnesses

CHINA'S workplace safety authority will fine employers up to 300,000 yuan (US$43,900) if they are responsible for any work-related illness.

The new rule, which applies to all businesses excluding the mining industry, takes effect next month, People's Daily reported yesterday.

Work illnesses are defined as any health problem caused by poor work practices such as inhaling dust and contact with poisons.

Employers are required to notify workers about possible health hazards of their jobs and organize workplace safety training, according to the rule. They shall monitor their workers' health and provide them with protection against possible hazards.

Employers will be fined between 100,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan if they are found responsible for a worker's illness.

Meanwhile, a hospital in Henan Province has been criticized by the provincial health authority for checking a worker for an occupational disease, which it is not licensed for, The Beijing News reported yesterday.

The No.1 Hospital Affiliated with Zhengzhou University made the assessment on June 21 to Zhang Haichao, a 28-year-old native of Henan's Xinmi City. The hospital said Zhang had pneumoconiosis, an occupational disease caused by dust inhalation.

Zhang's chest was opened at the hospital to prove the disease after the province's only qualified occupational disease assessment authority, the Zhengzhou Occupation-Related Diseases Control and Prevention Center, denied he had pneumoconiosis.

Due to that assessment, Zhang was unable to demand compensation.

An official at Xinmi's health bureau has been sacked and three doctors at the occupational diseases center have had their licenses for pneumoconiosis diagnosis revoked.


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