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November 17, 2010

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China chooses British partners to help it improve health and safety

Workers in China look set to benefit from the protection of British health and safety training and standards, under a landmark agreement signed between one of the country’s biggest municipalities and a leading UK public-health organisation.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) announced today (17 November) it is to work with the Municipality of Chongqing to review health and safety legislation and audit seven high-hazard industries, including construction, mines, quarrying and hazardous chemicals.

The HSE has also agreed to provide its expertise in helping develop a plan to introduce an inspection system for Chinese workplaces and establish a register of competent health and safety consultants there.

To this end, the CIEH has already provided “broad-brush” training for 25 of Chongqing’s 200 inspectors, and, with the help of training partners, will eventually expand this to the workforce and train some 100,000 people a year.

International business development director for the CIEH, David Denton, told SHP that the Chinese chose to follow British standards after having benchmarked their existing situation against both UK and US standards, and deciding that the UK had a better record on fatalities, injuries, and ill health among workers.

According to Denton, the Municipality of Chongqing has a budget that regulators in this country can only dream of: £2 billion to review and develop a new health and safety framework. With more than 100,000 people killed in workplace and transport-related incidents in China every year, however, it is clear that a lot of investment is needed to bring standards in line with the best in the world.

Chief executive of the CIEH, Graham Jukes, commented: “We have found our experience in China incredibly rewarding and inspiring. This is a rapidly growing and enterprising part of the world that has made a strong commitment to high standards of workplace safety and consumer protection. The CIEH is looking forward to growing our presence in China and building mutually beneficial relationships.”

David Denton explained that occupational hygiene is a key area of concern for the Chinese, as there is currently no legislation, or capability in this area. The CIEH has already held discussions with the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) and is also intending to do so with IOSH and other stakeholder organisations in the UK safety sector.

Concluded Graham Jukes: “The agreement provides us with a unique opportunity to share UK knowledge and expertise in health and safety with our partners in Chongqing.”

Pictured are David Denton with Wei Shihong, secretary of the Chongqing Communist Party Committee and head of the negotiating team from Chongqing University of Science and Technology, with whom CIEH will have a degree accreditation deal.

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13 years ago

This is music to my ears! One of the biggest barriers I come across at work when trying to do my job, is ‘Look at China they’ve got no Health & Safety or Quality and look at the money they’re making……etc.’
And now they are coming to us because of their apalling safety record! I feel like copying this and pinning it on the notice board!!!

13 years ago

I welcome the Chinese move to develop an enforcement system. So india what are you doing which is living in 1920’s. can india enforce such a thing in thier workplaces. currently fatal accident are a daily sight in india. who do not give value to safety and health. what they give is for enginnering.will India follow suit? or ignore it all together

13 years ago

Let’s hope they start with fire safety in buildings.