China is now formulating a new law on prevention and cure of occupational diseases to protect workers' health, according to an official with the Ministry of Health.
The official said that China currently lacks legislation to cover occupational health hazards.
The draft now under examination by China's top legislature focuses on major illnesses including silicosis and other ailments caused by handling toxic or radioactive materials.
According to the draft law, before a factory can be constructed, the design and plans for the work environment will be assessed and must conform to the national standard. Workers are entitled to have physical examinations periodically.
The rise in cases of occupational disease can be attributed to China's low economic level and also to the drastic change in the country's employment system, the official said. Most managers of private and small factories often ignore the importance of a healthy work environment.