Regulating Occupational Health and Safety in EU and China: From a Comparative Law Perspective

Regulating Occupational Health and Safety in EU and China: From a Comparative Law Perspective

Kai Liu (Jiangsu Normal University, China)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4134-9.ch003
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Occupational health and safety (OHS) is an important aspect of the labour protection field. This chapter compares OHS legal regimes of China and EU. Comprehensive workplace health and safety legislations of the two systems are described, and the different aspects, including for example, legislative aim, the legislation structure, general obligation, OHS insurance, moral harassment, law enforcement, etc., are detailed. Based on the analysis, conclusions are made and policy recommendations from both legislation aspect and enforcement aspect are provided.
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The EU Workplace accident and disease prevention have been the focus of law-making activity in European Union (EU) since the creation of the common market in 1950 when the European Coal and Steel Community begins to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure lasting peace. In more than half a century, the EU occupational health and safety (OHS) law grew from nothing into the present legal system (Liu & Liu, 2015), which centers on the Framework Directive 89/391(see hereafter). The modern Chinese occupational health and safety law started from the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and has formed system centering on the Work Safety Law (WSL) and Occupational Disease Prevention Law (ODPL). This research is set to compare the two systems and see from what aspects the Chinese system may benefit from the EU system. To serve this purpose, the OHS rules and their application in the EU law and the Chinese law are compared in this chapter. The aim of the comparison is to investigate whether what convergences and divergences exist between the EU system and the Chinese system. Answering these questions might provide some clues to understand how the OHS are regulated respectively in China and EU, and as such is requisite for providing potential recommendations for improving the Chinese system. As commented by Örücü, the comparative lawyer must discover and describe uniformities and differences on the basis of the information s/he has collected and described. (Örücü, 2006). This comparative research is ordered in three topics: the convergences, divergences and the variables between OHS systems of the two jurisdictions. Among them, the variables concern the differences, as divergences do. However, variables concern the factors that are of either non-legal nature or legal nature but not OHS law nature. Based on the comparison, a conclusion would be drawn.

Before analyzing the legal systems, it is necessary to know some information about their economic and labour market contexts in order to better understand the differences between the two jurisdictions. Here three important economic labour market indicators are presented. Regarding EU, according to the data published by the EU’s statistical agency --- the Eurostat, the total number of labour force was 218,375,000 people in 2016 (Eurostat, 2016), the unemployment rate was 9.6% (Eurostat, 2017), and the labour participation rate 72.9% (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2015). Correspondingly, the data’s of China are 806,460.14 (World Bank, 2016), 4.02% (People’s Congress, 2017), and 71.0% (World Bank, 2016).

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