Effective July 2, 2016, the PRC Occupational Disease Protection Law has been revised to cancel occupational disease approval procedures for most construction projects.

Under the old law, a company engaging in a construction project (including a project involving technical restructuring or the introduction of new technology) with potential occupational disease hazards was required to follow a series of procedures, including engaging a qualified occupational health institution to conduct an occupational disease pre-evaluation, obtaining various government approvals, and obtaining a post-construction completion assessment from a qualified institution.

Under the revised law, these administrative approval procedures have been cancelled for most projects other than medical facility construction projects with the potential to produce radiological occupational disease hazards (in which case the reports should be submitted to the health administration authority). In addition, a company can now conduct the occupational disease pre-evaluation and the occupational disease health protection control assessment by itself and likewise examine the design and construction of the occupational disease prevention facilities by itself.

Key Take-Away Points:

Under the revised law, for most construction projects with potential occupational disease hazards, the regulatory burden has been significantly reduced. However, companies will still be responsible for ensuring that construction projects and occupational disease prevention facilities comply with all PRC laws. Furthermore, where occupational disease pre-evaluations, assessments and designs are still required, a company should carefully consider whether it has the knowledge and expertise to properly undertake these activities by itself or whether it should continue to engage a qualified occupational health institution for these services to avoid exposing the company to unnecessary risks.