Peoples Republic of China

Liberty’s Safety Activities in China

Beginning from the first Safety Representative Office (SRO) registered in Shanghai in March 1996, Liberty Mutual has come to China with its expertise in work place safety.  The risk management specialists have already developed a wide range of activities in the area of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in China.

Seminars & Training

  • October 1996, in cooperation with Pudong Labor Association, and with the support of the Pudong New Area Labor and Personnel Administration and Shanghai Medical University, Liberty organized an occupational safety seminar for 30 local Shanghai, including Pudong, companies (25 construction companies and 5 shipbuilding companies).
  • May 1997, Liberty organized a seminar in Beijing on trends in occupational safety & health policies in the Asia Pacific region. Approximately 100 people from various government departments and enterprises attend.
  • December 3-4, 1997, Liberty organized and conducted a two-day international symposium, entitled “From Research to Reality: Improving Workplace Safety and Health in China”, in Shanghai. Speakers included representatives from Shanghai Medical University, Liberty Mutual Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Shanghai Labor Bureau, Shanghai Health Bureau, and Liberty International (Hong Kong).
  • In order to encourage the exchange of specialized knowledge in OSH, Liberty has jointly organized three China SafeWork Forums with State Administration of Work Safety Supervision (former Bureau of Work Safety of the State Economic and Trade Commission). The first Forum was in Chongqing on April 25-27, 1999, the second ChinaWrkSf2000eone in Beijing on June 6-8, 2000, and the third one in 2001 Shanghai 31Shanghai on April 24-25, 2001.
  • August 1999, Liberty Mutual hosted a two-week safety and health training program in Boston for occupational safety and health experts from the State Economic and Trade Commission.
  • These international conferences continued:  In 2002:

Research Projects

  • As early as December 1996, since Liberty Mutual Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health signed a General Cooperative Research Agreement with School of Public Health, Fudan University (former Shanghai Medical University), both party have undertaken a series of OSH research in China. In February 2000, publication of three studies in International Journals was announced.  The studies are collaboration between Shanghai Medical University, Harvard University and Liberty Mutual.
  • July 1997, two major pilot projects were carried out with the approval of the Pudong New Area Bureau of Labor and Personnel. The Bureau selected two local construction companies, i.e., Pudong New Area Construction Company and Shanghai No. 3 Construction Corporation. The end result of each activities was a special report to the company management on the results of Liberty’s examination of their respective safety management systems and practices, followed by a fully “personalized” one-day seminar in August in which recommendations for safety program improvements were presented to each company separately.
  • April 1999, Liberty signed Memorandum of Understanding with Research Institutes of SSTRC/SETC & ISIS/MLSS (first research cooperative MOU)..
  • Liberty has established two research centers in China, the Liberty Mutual SafeWork Center at School of Public Health of Fudan University (former Shanghai Medical University) on June 2, 2000, 2002Chongqing   41.jpgand the Liberty Mutual SafeWork Center at Chongqing University on October 2000.
  • October 2000, Liberty Mutual and State Administration of Work Safety Supervision (former Bureau of Work Safety of the State Economic and Trade Commission) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a Pan China Study to research safety in the Chinese work place.
  • December 18, 2000, Liberty Mutual signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, and donates RMB200, 000 to sponsor a study project on “Prevention of Industry Injuries and Disability and Provision of Insurance”.


  • November 1996, two Liberty International Fellowships in Occupational Safety & Health Research were given to qualified PRC participants (one from Shanghai Medical University and one from the Ministry of Public Health). This Fellowship included all travel and living expenses plus fees for a one week program at the Liberty Mutual Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health in Hopkinton, USA, and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, USA.
  • September 200ChinaWrkSf2000a0, Liberty sponsored translation of the “Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety”.
  • February 2000, Liberty International sponsored the publication of the book of Ms. Ge Man, Social Insurance Institute, Ministry of Labor and Social Security, entitled “Worker’s Injury Insurance: Reform and Practice”.
  • August 2000, Liberty sponsored the 2000’ International Symposium on Safety Science and Technology hosted by State Administration of Work Safety Supervision (former Bureau of Work Safety of the Stated Economic and Trade Commission) and Beijing Institute of Technology.
  • November 2000, Liberty Mutual sponsored the First Shanghai Industrial Occupational Safety and Health Symposium.

Under the guidance of “Helping people live safer and more secure lives”, Liberty will keep its commitment and continue to contribute to the work place safety improvement in China.

China State Administration of Work Safety Supervision

Discussions with elements of the Chinese Ministry of Labor began in 1996.  As the Institute’s China initiatives, particularly at Fudan University, grew, discussions with the State Administration of Work Safety Supervision (SAWS) and its predecessors led to increased recognition of a shared interest in improving occupational safety in China.

SAWS representatives participated in the 1996 Research to Reality Forum in Shanghai.  Thereafter, SAWS agreed to co-organize the annual China SafeWork Forum series which brought important constituents from state owned enterprises, foreign and private owned enterprises, government and international experts to discuss cutting edge research and best practices expected to offer significant benefits for improving workplace safety in China.  This series arose from the prototype 1996 symposium which was organized by Liberty Mutual Research Institute and brought together researchers from other Safework partnerships of the Institute, particularly from Harvard University and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  Program highlights included participation of former US Assistant Secretary of Labor for Safety and Health, Charles Jeffress in 2001 and US Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety, David Lauriski in 2002.

These proved very successful and in 2002 SAWS took over the lead role in a new bi-annual series of international conferences co-organized with the International Labour Organisation of the United Nations and the Research Institute.  These new larger conferences are known as the China International Forums on Work Safety:

Co-organized and co-sponsored by the State Administration of Work Safety

China SafeWork Forum, Effective Integration of Government, Industry and Research, Beijing, 1999

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChina SafeWork Forum, Safety Management and Planning, Chongqing, 2000

China SafeWork Forum, High Hazard Industries- Transport, Petrochemical, Coal Mining, Machinery Shanghai, 2001

China Safe Work Forum, Improving Traffic Safety, Beijing, 2002

China SafeWork Forum, Small & Medium Sized Enterprise Safety Management, Chongqing, 2003

China SafeWork Forum, Urban Emergency Rescue and Risk Management, Beijing, 2004

China SafeWork Forum, Dangerous Chemicals Road Transportation Safety, Beijing 2005

Co-organized and co-sponsored by the State Administration of Work Safety and ILO

1st  China International Forum on Work Safety, Beijing, 2002

2nd China International Forum on Work Safety, Beijing, 2004

Other initiatives

In 2001, an extensive effort to collect national injury and safety data from nearly 100 enterprises in key sectors was organized with the State Administration of Work Safety.  Involving a coalition of more than 10 participating academic, governmental and labor units, the Pan-China Injury Study initiative was eventually scaled back by SAWS.  An internal SAWS project was substituted, and a final report on the state of Safety in China generated in Chinese.

The Institute has also hosted numerous visits from SAWS as well as other Chinese government organizations such as the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and the  Chinese Insurance Regulatory Commission.  Of particular note was a joint, two week symposium program in 1999 involving SAWS officials and Chinese industry representatives held at the Research Institute.  This program also involved Harvard faculty and local industrial and construction site visits.  The major focus was to share lessons learned and potential useful approaches to safety and health issues between the US and China.  PIC00016sThe Research Institute has also been privileged to host the Minister and Vice Ministers of SAWS over the period.


As late as 2008, Liberty was directly assisting the SAWS,  providing advisory reports on the Mining Industry tOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAo the mayor of Chongqing in collaboration with the former head of the British Health and Safety Laboratories.


In 2008,Liberty’s expertise in workers compensation and research was brought to bear to respond to a request from the Chinese Premier to Chairman Ted Kelly and resulted in an international 2008 30group of preeminent worker insurance authorities, lead by Peter Barth,  from the US, Canada, Germany, Japan, Canada and    addressing the challenges China faced in extending its coverage of workers across the republic and making recommendations  from the multinational experience in the group.

The final report was directly delivered to the Premier by Ted Kelly.