To learn more about EHS Trends in China, please register for Nimonik’s free webinar:
Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at 10 AM ET
The webinar will expand on the Expert Video and provide an analysis of the current situation and emerging trends for Environmental, Health and Safety compliance issues in China. Ines will be available during the webinar to address any questions you might have. Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There was an announcement by the Chinese government in January this year related to the annulment of about half of the current mandatory EHS-related national standards. Can you tell us more about it?
Ines: In January 2017, an office under the State Council for promoting and coordinating the standardization work announced the conclusion of the mandatory standard integration and simplification work. After validating the current over 10 thousand mandatory standards, it has been decided that around 2200 of them will be abolished and about 3600 of them will be converted into recommended standards, which means that about 50% of the current mandatory standards are going to disappear.
Sounds like a huge administrative project! How do you think is this going to affect organizations in China?
Ines: Well, I can give you a simple example to show how these are going to affect organizations in China. For instance, you have hot work operation in your workplace. Earlier, you had to follow the Mandatory National Standard on hot work safety, now this national standard has been converted into a recommended one. Which doesn’t mean you don’t have to control hot work safety anymore, because the violation penalty is still there in some upper laws, it means that now you can choose your own way to control your hot work safety. Multi-national enterprises usually have their own standards or working procedures, now they can use their own hot work safety procedures and not use, for example, the hot work application sheet required in the old mandatory standard. This whole standardization reform actually loosens the requirement on ‘How organizations should do things’, and strengthens the interim and post-event supervision from government’s side. (Companies from now on can choose to follow the new recommended standards to achieve work safety or environmental requirements or to use their own standards or procedures to achieve the same goals.)
The Chinese government has been trying to improve government efficiency by introducing reforms. Will these reforms have an impact on EHS compliance? Do you have any examples to share with us?
Ines: This is a very good question! China is a centralized country; we can’t have a comprehensive discussion or prediction of its EHS trends without looking at its ruling policies. The current government raised a new ruling concept calling ‘放管服’ in Chinese, which in English can be translated to ‘The pipes suit’. The pipes suit actually means the reform to simplify administration, delegate power, strengthen regulation and optimize service. ‘The Pipes Suit’ now is a very hot word that often appears on the Chinese news and social media and it’s not just an empty slogan. This reform has already affected every aspect of EHS compliance. At the national level, we have the Administration of Work Safety, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and other essential ministries for EHS field, they are all in this process of simplifying administration and delegating power reform. Organizations now are more self-regulated, they can do almost every step by themselves unlike before when they were required to ask qualified institutions. The government has adjusted their own role from supervising every step to only imposing post-event supervision and increasing the penalties of violation. In the foreseeable future, this policy will keep affecting EHS compliance in China, it will increase the responsibility of the enterprise, augment the requirement of EHS management personnel’s qualities. Our EHS managers in China will need to comprehensively improve their compliance efforts and results to face the new challenges of EHS compliance.
Well that sounds like a good plan. The Chinese government, by reducing supervision, is moving toward simpler administration but is increasing an organization’s responsibility to comply with the EHS requirements, increasing non-compliance penalties at the same time.
Well thank you so much Ines for sharing this information with us!
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