Occupational Ailments and Employment Relations in China’s Auto Industry: A Comparative Survey of Workers at 12 Companies’ Assembly Plants in China

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Kyoto (2014)


''China, Auto industry, Labor Rights, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)


This paper focuses on the serious occupational health and safety (OHS) injuries affecting the workers of one of China’s most important industries—automotive assembly—and particularly the musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that are common in the industry. The data is drawn from a survey of 1,100 autoworkers conducted in 2011 at twelve assembly plants in seven Chinese cities. By correlating injury rates with speed of the assembly line, length of work hours, sources of mental pressure at the workplace, age of the respondents, availability of floaters to replace absent workers, ease to take sick leave, etc., the data identifies the most salient causes of MSD. The study raises the issue of such OHS injuries as a violation of labor rights, and suggests remedies applicable both in China and internationally.

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