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Penalties for work safety breaches to be increased

By HOU LIQIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2021-01-21 09:20

Law enforcement personnel from the local emergency management authority conduct a safety check 93 meters underground in a mine in Changxing county, Huzhou, Zhejiang province, on Friday. [Photo by Tan Yunfeng/for China Daily]

China plans to step up punishment for unlawful acts that pose safety hazards in workplaces and resort to greater use of information technologies to enhance safety management, according to draft amendments to the Law on Workplace Safety.

As well as facing tougher penalties, companies will be fined on a daily basis if they refuse to rectify violations, according to the draft amendments, which were submitted to the 25th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for deliberation on Wednesday.

Companies with severe breaches may be shut down and have their business licenses revoked. Those responsible for the breaches can be banned from working in related industries, the draft amendments said.

Work safety supervision will also be more intelligent and based on information technology, with the draft amendments saying government bodies should enhance the sharing of information about major safety hazards and emergency countermeasures.

The Ministry of Emergency Management will lead the work to establish a national rescue information system for workplace accidents, and government bodies and governments above the county level will set up similar systems for different industries, sectors and regions.

The draft amendments also call for the market to play a bigger role in work safety management. It will be mandatory for companies in industries with high risks to contribute to a work safety liability insurance.

Local governments will have to improve the infrastructure required for workplace safety management and enhance its capacity, with the cost included in their budgets.

New safety hazards have emerged since the law, which took effect in 2002, was amended in 2009 and 2014, Huang Ming, the ministry's Party chief, told the NPC Standing Committee.

"Many safety hazards that stayed hidden for an extended period of time have been exposed in a concentrated manner," he said.

In China's most recent reform of national institutions in March 2018, 13 disaster relief-related responsibilities from 11 government bodies, including the defunct state administration of work safety, were shifted to the newly established ministry.

The duties of various government bodies also need to be amended because of the reshuffle, Huang said.

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