China's trade unions have urged employers to extend noon breaks for migrant workers working on construction sites to prevent them from suffering sunstroke.
"Migrant workers have the right to refuse to work in high temperatures," said Liu Haihua, deputy director in charge of labor security of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) on Monday.
The trade unions branches will also launch programs to improve the working and living conditions for migrant workers and educate them on how to prevent sunstroke.
The programs will focus on construction sites, high temperature factories and other outdoor working sites, Liu said.
On July 4, a female worker from a factory in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, passed out while working. She was sent to a hospital and was diagnosed with sunstroke.
The woman suffered hyperventilation, a fever of 41.6 degrees centigrade and low blood pressure. She died the next morning.
Her death brought attention to workers working in high temperatures. Some Internet users posted comments saying that China's insufficient labor safety standards were partly to blame.
The only legal provision concerning labor security in high temperatures is a regulation enacted in 1960, which fails to provide any concrete measures to protect workers working at high temperatures.
The ACFTU says it is conducting research on how to better protect the rights of migrant workers and improve the regulations concerning their working and living conditions.
In 2005, Shenzhen issued guidelines on labor security in high temperatures, which stipulate that workers should stop working when the temperature reaches 40 degrees centigrade and work no more than four hours when the temperature reaches 38 degrees. It also says that workers should stop outdoor work from noon to 3 PM when the temperature reaches 35 degrees.
(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2006)