ILO supports inclusion of musculoskeletal disorders into the list of occupational diseases in China

ILO and its Chinese partners join hands to address key issues and obstacles of expansion of the national list of occupational diseases.

Press release | 16 June 2022
Beijing (ILO news) – On the 16th June 2022, ILO and the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) of China CDC jointly organized a seminar on Diagnostic Standards of Occupational Disease. The background of this seminar is the National Health Commission is considering revising the national List and Catalogue of Occupational Diseases, which serves as the basis as the prevention and compensation of occupational diseases. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and mental and behavioural disorders are not included in the current list of Occupational Diseases of China.

However, ergonomic and socio-psychological risks are common in the modern world of work. MSDs are the most frequently reported work-related health problems. They account for more working days lost than any other type of health problem among EU countries. Worldwide, MSDs represent 40 per cent of global compensation costs of occupational and work-related injuries and diseases. The features of modern work, such as fast pace, tight deadlines, and less control of work pace, long working hours culture such as 996, lead to more prevalent stress and ergonomic risks than before. As a result, muscular pains, mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, and cardiovascular illnesses which are induced or aggregated by long-term mental health problems are affecting more working population than ever before.

The Chinese government pays high attention to the protection of the occupational health of workers. With the social and economic development in recent years, China needs to revise the List and Catalogue of Occupational Diseases as soon as possible. We plan to include into the List some MSDs and mental and behaviour disorders which have clear causality relationship with work. 

Mr. Wu Zongzhi, Director General of the Occupational Health Department of the National Health Commission of China

Occupational health is an important dimension of the decent work. It is important that ILO could contribute to healthier working conditions and improved health of workers in China. Adding MSDs and psychological factors into the list of occupational diseases will help China meet higher level of challenges as China is moving towards a higher level of social and economic development. And it is also the right time for China to do so."

Mr. Chang-Hee Lee, Director of ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia
This is the second ILO/NIOH seminar organized for preparation of the revision of the list of occupational diseases of China. The two seminars aimed at facilitating knowledge-sharing between China and other countries. Senior experts from China CDC, ILO, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Administration (KOSHA), University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg of Germany and University of Milano of Italy had in-depth technical exchanges on key questions or obstacles to be addressed in inclusion of MSDs as well as mental and behaviour disorders into the list.

Around 80 occupational health experts, physicians, and practitioners from different provinces participated the seminar.