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China "turning corner" on health & safety

29 September 2014

China is said to be turning a corner on the safety and health of its workers, a move welcomed by the British Safety Council.

China has been transforming its economy to be a world leader for years; the 7th International Forum on Work Safety shows it’s also taking the health and safety of its workers seriously. A world leading economy that is also a safe and healthy one would transform regional and global attitudes to health and safety.   

Alex Botha, chief executive of the British Safety Council, is speaking at the 7th International Forum on Work Safety in Beijing. The forum, with the involvement of the State Administration of Work Safety, reflects China’s renewed efforts to reduce the terrible toll of workplace injury and ill health and the involvement of the State Administration of Work Safety.

"The general consensus is that China is improving its record on occupational safety and health,” says Alex. "The British Safety Council welcomes that, while emphasising that with fatal injuries still in their tens of thousands each year, China has a long way to go.

"These improvements have their origin in political leadership that over a decade ago saw ‘safe development’ written into China’s national plans. In particular, 2002 saw the introduction of two new laws that improved the regulatory framework, along with the first International Forum on Work Safety. This combination of a robust and improving regulatory framework to set standards and penalise wrong-doers, along with forums for business, health and safety professionals and government officials to exchange experience on prevention is the right one.”

"I look forward to sharing our experiences with colleagues while I am in China. With an estimated 4% of global GDP lost due to health and safety failure, with over 2.3 million people senselessly killed each year, we know that key to delivering improvements is to convince leaders – both in business and politics – that there are economic as well as moral reasons to protect workers.

"Our recent report into the business benefits of health and safety shows that employers – and society more generally – gains so much from a healthy and safe workforce. Productivity is increased, wastage reduced, public reputation for delivery without the disruption of poorly managed risks is enhanced. This is the message that I hope to see China adopt and lead on. By doing so and with its influence, China can encourage all parts of the world to save lives and eliminate costs, both human and financial.”

Debuting in 2002, the China International Forum on Work Safety, hosted by the State Administration of Work Safety, P. R. China and the International Labour Organization (ILO) was established as a platform for safety and health stakeholders across the Asia-Pacific region. It brings together safety and health professionals, business leaders and government officials to learn about the latest trends and developments that impact safety and health. Alex Botha will be talking about the importance of leadership for employers to ensure that health and safety risks are properly managed.