An emerging occupational rehabilitation system in the People's Republic of China

Dan Tang, Gang Chen, Yan Wen Xu, Karen Y.L. Hui-Lo, Xiao Yuan Luo, Che Hin Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: China has become a major economic influence in Asia and globally. The country is in the position to further develop its workers' insurance and compensation system. This paper aims to introduce the existing workers' compensation policies, explain how these policies guide the operation of the occupational rehabilitation system for injured workers, and suggest ways to further develop an effective and sustainable system for the country. Methods: Major government policies and initiative documents and existing literature on occupational rehabilitation were critically reviewed. Shortfalls in our current system were identified and potential further development regimes were propose. Results: Since 2004, China has implemented its national policy on providing timely and comprehensive rehabilitation and return-to-work interventions for workers who are injured at work. The three-tier medical and occupational rehabilitation system appears effective for enabling injured workers to access these services. Such a system is regarded as the most optimal for the country in spearheading the development of quality occupational rehabilitation services, and at the same time incorporating the existing expertise in acute medical care and rehabilitation within the public medical and health system. Problems encountered in the system can be classified under the culture, system and competence building aspects. Conclusion: The future workers' insurance and compensation system can probably put more emphasis on using bio-psychosocial and work disability prevention models in guiding its service development and delivery. Efforts need to be placed on building the competence of professionals in the system who provide services for injured workers. The empowerment of important stakeholders in the workers' insurance and compensation system and their inclusion in the planning of service delivery are crucial for developing a sustainable and effective system for China.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


  • Injured workers
  • Rehabilitation
  • Return to work
  • Service delivery models
  • Workers' compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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