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China: Hundreds of construction workers struggle to claim for compensation after getting pneumoconiosis upon prolonged inhalation of silica dust

Autor/in: Mimi Lau, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Veröffentlicht am: 11 October 2018

"Dying for China’s economic miracle: migrant workers ravaged by lung disease, fighting to pay for their funerals", 10 Oct 2018

Wang…found he has terminal stage-three silicosis – lung disease – linked to his years of exposure to silica dust on the job. Rather than quietly accept his fate, he has been petitioning the Shenzhen government for compensation. He is among more than 600 workers from Hunan alone seeking money for medical care and to support their families – a reflection of the forgotten human cost of turning Shenzhen, in Guangdong province…

Silicosis is an incurable form of pneumoconiosis, a lung disease caused by prolonged inhalation of airborne silica dust. Pneumatic drill operators drill holes deep into the hard granite beneath Shenzhen to prepare sites for building foundations…China’s most widespread occupational illness, pneumoconiosis, is commonly found among coal miners but is suffered in varying stages by an estimated 6 million-plus Chinese migrant workers, according to Love Save Pneumoconiosis, a Beijing-based charity dedicated to helping them…

 “A lot of them got ill with pneumoconiosis simply because they had been breathing in dust all day every day with no protection,” said Geoffrey Crothall, a spokesman for…China Labour Bulletin…Crothall…said that although there were legal measures workers could take, they were time-consuming and required them first to establish that there was an employment relationship…Research in 2016 by Love Save Pneumoconiosis showed only 9.5 per cent of migrant workers with pneumoconiosis had signed labour contracts with their employers. This means most would struggle to prove they might be eligible to claim compensation for a job-related illness.

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