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China Issues Data on Occupational Diseases in 2020

On July 13, 2021, the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China (NHC) released the Statistical Report on China's Health Care Development in 2020[1]. A total number of 17,064 cases of occupational diseases nationalwide were reported and over 84% of the cases were pneumoconiosis and other respiratory diseases.

The cases of occupational diseases reported in 2020 are classified into 10 types, including:

• 14,408 cases of pneumoconiosis and other respiratory diseases (including 14,367 cases of pneumoconiosis);

• 1310 cases of Otolaryngological and Stomatological Diseases;

• 488 cases of infectious diseases;

• 486 cases of chemical poisoning;

• 217 cases of occupational diseases caused by physical factors;

• 63 cases of skin diseases;

• 48 cases of tumor;

• 24 cases of eye diseases;

• 10 cases of radioactive diseases;

• 10 cases of other occupational diseases;

According to the Report, pneumoconiosis continues to be the most important occupational disease in the country, which seriously endangers workers' health due to long-term inhalation of large amounts of free silica with other dust. 2020 saw 6,668 death due to pneumoconiosis, which mainly occurs in coal, metallurgy, building industries, etc.

As the most populated country in the world, China faces unique challenges to ensure the occupational safety and health of its labor force. Over the past years, China has made significant progress in reducing the diseases and risks related to occupational health. In addition to improving employers’ compliance with laws, the government’s occupational safety and health inspection capacity has been enhanced. By the end of 2020, there were 4,520 occupational health inspection institutions and 589 occupational disease diagnosis institutions in China, which were regularly supervised by the competent departments 17,296 times, with a 73.2% supervision coverage rate. The number of occupational diseases has declined as the statistics show 19,428 cases in 2019, 23,479 in 2018 and 26,756 in 2017.

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