The Chinese government has banned employers from imposing
overtime on staff or exposing them to the sun and heat as parts of
the country experience the worst heatwave in 50 years.
An official statement called on companies to provide workers
with necessary protective facilities and working conditions, and
adjust working hours according to the weather.
The statement jointly issued by the Ministry of Health, the
Ministry of Labor and Social Security, State Administration of Work
Safety and All-China Federation of Trade Unions warned of "severe
penalties" for employers who failed to protect their staff or who
ignored the notice.
It urged health authorities to raise public awareness of the
dangers of the heat and called on hospitals to give timely
treatment to heatstroke patients and report the cases to the
Work places in areas affected by the heatwave would be subject
Continuous high temperatures and low rainfall since early July
have caused severe drought, particularly in southwest China's Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality, where more than 10
million people are affected.
According to the provincial disaster relief headquarters, the
drought has cost 8.87 billion yuan (US$1.11 billion) in direct
economic losses, and 66 counties were still suffering.
An estimated 7.84 million people in 37 districts and counties in
Chongqing are suffering a shortage of drinking water and the
drought had caused 3.75 billion yuan (US$470 million) in
According to the China Meteorological Administration, three to
five days with temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius are a heatwave
and can cause heatstroke.
(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2006)