China's top legislature on Monday reviewed an amendment to a law regarding occupational illnesses that sets harsher punishment for violations.
Licensing authorities for construction projects will be given criminal sanctions if their actions violate the law, according to the draft amendment to the Law on Occupational Illness Prevention and Control that was submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for its second reading.
The authorities may be fired if they arbitrarily approve licenses for construction projects, the draft amendment states.
The draft amendment states employers who violate the law and do serious damage to an employee's life or health will be fined between 100,000 yuan (15,689 U.S. dollars) and 500,000 yuan. The fine's ceiling was previously set at 300,000 yuan.
With a focus on "prevention," the draft amendment further clears the responsibilities of relevant government organs to strengthen the prevention and control of occupational disease "from the source."
The principals of employing units take whole responsibilities for prevention and control work in their units, it states.
Employing units should guarantee adequate funding needed to prevent and cure work-related diseases and must not squeeze or appropriate the funding, the draft amendment states.
Currently, patients whose working places no longer exist or former employment cannot be confirmed do not fit into the law rules.
To resolve the difficulty, the draft amendment states they can apply for medical aid and subsistence allowance at local civil affairs departments.
More than 27,000 cases of work-related illness were reported as of the end of last year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.
The NPC's bimonthly session is scheduled to be held from Oct. 24 to 29.