Prevention of occupational diseases, especially among migrant workers and casual laborers who face increasing threats of hazards at work, needs to be enhanced, a Chinese senior health official said Friday.
Ma Xiaowei, vice minister of health, made the remarks at a conference on occupational diseases prevention in China's township enterprises held Friday.
Ma said that from January to September, 36 cases of serious work-related injuries had been reported to the Ministry of Health, with 584 people poisoned, of which 49 died.
Most of these victims are migrant workers, Ma said.
"Occupational hazards have not only hurt people's health and safety, but also influenced local economic development," Ma told the conference.
The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and the Ministry of Public Security jointly issued a notice last August urging reform of occupational disease and injury prevention in township enterprises and the rural private business sector where more migrant workers and casual laborers worked.
Ma also suggested that more attention should be paid to the education of migrant workers on relevant laws on occupational disease and injury prevention, so as to raise their consciousness of self protection in disease prevention, safety production and workers' rights and interests.
(Xinhua News Agency November 14, 2003)