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Occupational safety in China: An exploration of the safety climate concept in the Chinese context

Project details:
The low standard of occupational safety in China is an issue of human rights and is an ethical concern at an international level. No country in history has industrialised at the same rate as China has over the past 20 years. Whilst it is important to appreciate China’s developmental goals, it is necessary to achieve more balance between production and safety. During the 1990’s in China, there was an average of 100,000 fatalities per year from industrial accidents (Li, 2005). Whilst the notion of occupational safety is certainly not new in China, the issue of protecting workers in Chinese workplaces is becoming increasingly prominent at an international level, prompting the Chinese government to take action with respect to occupational safety (Su, 2003).

Scope of the project:
The aim of this ACREW funded research is to 1) identify appropriate research questions to be investigated in China based on an extant literature review from the sources of both English and Chinese; 2) develop a suitable instruments for the field study; 3) to conduct a pilot field study in China to explore the extent to which current knowledge of safety culture and safety climate can be tailored to China’s unique social and economic context.

Project details:
This research is in its early stages of development, with the aim being that results from this initial phase of research will be used to provide a foundation for further research. This project is designed to pilot test safety climate survey instruments within the organisational context of Chinese manufacturing and mining firms. Preceding this field research is a thorough review of the literature on occupational safety in China from publications in both English and Chinese. In order to complete these tasks research support is being utilised in both China and Australia. This project is being conducted as a partnership between the Department of Management at Monash University and the Department of Safety Engineering at the China University of Mining and Technology-Beijing.

Researchers:
Ms Gemma Clissold
Associate Professor Cherrie Zhu, Cherrie.Zhu@BusEco.monash.edu.au