Regulations laying new responsibilities on employers to prevent, and provide compensation for, occupational diseases came into force in May, China Daily said. Employers now have the duty to create an understanding of occupational hazards as well as provide safety equipment for their staff. Those who fail to do so may be punished. In addition, | health professionals at a place of work can also be held responsible and if negligence on their part leads to worker illness, they can face criminal charges.
The Ministry of Health received reports of 13,218 cases of occupational diseases in 2001, 13 per cent more than in the previous year. Among them were 756 cases of acute poisoning, of which 110 were fatal.