In recent years, occupational accidents in Shanghai have decreased both in quantity and the number of people involved year on year, with Shanghai's trade unions playing an active role. Recently, since the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of employees is one of their chief responsibilities, they have fully leveraged the advantages they hold as trade unions in this field, participating in the formulation of work safety laws, establishing and improving the five systems of labour protection (see below), advancing targeted collective contracts for occupational prevention and treatment, taking part in work accident investigations, and playing a major role in organizing the ACFTU's national Safety and Health Competition for the past 16 years.
Giving employees a voice in the formulation of laws. The most direct way of safeguarding the rights and interests of employees at source is to participate in discussions on future legislation. Stemming from the point of origin, this kind of protection is fundamental. The relevant laws require that before any national or local law closely related to work safety is promulgated, trade unions should be consulted at the discussion stage. During this phase, it is the trade unions's responsibility to give voice to the opinions of workers. The Shanghai trade unions have indeed played a significant role in this process and, on many occasions, the proposals they made have been accepted by the departments concerned.
At the research stage of the legislative process for the Occupational Disease Prevention and Treatment Law, the Vice-Minister for Health led a team to Shanghai. Proceeding from the reality on the ground at local level, the Shanghai Municipal Federation of Trade Unions put forward the suggestion that workers in positions dealing with occupational hazards should be kept informed, on the basis that a policy of obscurantism is never a solution. It also proposed job training for such employees. These proposals found their way into the Law as promulgated. On the enterprise and public institution front, the federation has encouraged trade unions to participate in drafting clauses regarding workers?labour protection for incorporation into collective contracts.