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Occupational injury among migrant workers in China: a systematic review
  1. Simon Fitzgerald1,
  2. Xin Chen2,
  3. Hui Qu3,
  4. Mira Grice Sheff4
  1. 1Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China
  3. 3Peking University Health Science Center, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing, China
  4. 4School of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to
    Dr Simon Fitzgerald, Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 5 East 98th Street, Box 1259, New York, NY 10029, USA; Simon.fitzgerald{at}


Objectives This review considers the state of occupational injury surveillance and prevention among migrant workers in China and suggests areas of focus for future research on the topic.

Methods Bibliographic databases were searched for qualitative and quantitative studies on surveillance of and interventions to prevent occupational injury among migrant workers in mainland China. Additional abstracts were identified from the citations of relevant articles from the database search. Studies fitting the inclusion criteria were evaluated, and findings were extracted and summarised.

Results The search uncovered 726 studies in the English-language databases searched, and 3109 in the Chinese database. This article analyses a total of 19 research articles that fit the inclusion criteria with qualitative or quantitative data on occupational injury surveillance and prevention of migrant workers in China. Despite evidence of the vulnerability of migrant workers in the workplace, there is little systematic surveillance of occupational injury and few evaluated interventions.

Conclusions Migrant workers account for a disproportionate burden of occupational injury morbidity and mortality in China. However, data are inconsistent and inadequate to detail injury incidence or to evaluate interventions. The following are suggestions to decrease injury incidence among migrants: strengthen the national system of occupational injury surveillance; focus surveillance and interventions on high-risk occupations employing migrants such as construction, manufacturing and small mining operations; improve occupational safety training and access to appropriate safety equipment; evaluate recent changes in occupational health and safety and evaluate outcome of multi-party interventions to reduce occupational injury among migrant workers.


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