China's top legislature on Thursday adopted an amendment to the Law on Workplace Safety, introducing heavier penalties for workplace safety violations and also enhancing supervision over emerging industries.
Aside from facing tougher penalties, companies will be fined on a daily basis if they refuse to rectify violations, according to the amendment, which was passed in a session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress and will come into force on Sept 1.
Previously, for example, companies would be fined 20,000 yuan ($3,132) to 50,000 yuan if they failed to rectify violations before an appointed deadline. Now, the same fines will be imposed once violations are found. If the problems are not addressed in a timely way, the penalties could be a lot higher.
Guo Linmao, a member of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said the authorities overseeing work safety could choose to "impose the fine consecutively on a daily basis according to the original amount of the fine, starting from the second day of the date of ordered correction", if companies don't manage to rectify a situation in a timely way.
Previously, the maximum fines for a workplace accident stood at 20 million yuan. Now the upper limit has been lifted to 100 million yuan, said Song Yuanming, vice-minister of Emergency Management, in a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office on Friday.
The amendment also adds provisions concerning the new situation of workplace safety in emerging industries, such as the platform or "gig" economy.
Enterprises in emerging industries should establish a responsibility system for workplace safety that covers all people involved in these sectors, according to the amendment.
In a move to address an issue where some businesses in the sectors don't have specific supervising authorities, county or higher levels of governments can designate government bodies that oversee their work safety, it ruled.