Review of the work safety and health inspection system

Technical Memorandum: China

A project on “Strengthening labour inspection services” funded by the Norwegian Government provided for a review of the OSH inspection system in China for better protection and prevention of workplace accidents and occupational diseases. In this report, the review team puts forward findings, conclusions and recommendations for the improvement of OSH inspection policies and practices and the development of a capacity-building strategy.

China has ratified the Convention No. 155 on Occupational Safety and Health Convention (2007), the Convention No. 170 on Chemicals (1995) and the Convention No. 167 on Safety and Health in Construction (2002). It promulgated two important pieces of legislation, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Work Safety and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Occupational Diseases Prevention and Control. China has recently adopted the principles of safe development of the ILO Convention on a Promotional Framework for Occupational safety and Health (2006). It has been implementing the National Work Safety Programme (2006-2010) and the National Programme for Occupational Diseases Prevention and Control (2009-2015).

To strengthen work safety administration and inspection, China established the ministerial-level State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) directly under the State Council, which is responsible for overall supervision, administration, direction and coordination of work safety across the country. While many local work safety offices have been extended to the community level in recent years, it is recognized that under-staffing and weak enforcement capabilities as well as poor coordination amongst the various inspection organs are two of the issues facing the inspection services. These and other outstanding concerns must be addressed in order to strengthen work safety and health inspection system and thereby secure the effective enforcement of the laws.

In June 2010, the ILO and SAWS conducted the first joint review on work safety and health inspection aimed at improving work safety and health inspection services. A team of international and national experts, starting in Beijing, carried out the review mission in Shandong Province and Ningxia Autonomous Region and put forward recommendations for improvement of the OSH inspection policies and practices. An earlier mission had visited Zhe Jiang Province to collect data and discuss relevant issues.