The Anti-Therapeutic Effects of Workers’ Compensation in China: The Case of Seafarers
Shan, D. (2018). The anti-therapeutic effects of workers' compensation in China: The case of seafarers. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 58, 97-104.
Posted: 20 Sep 2018
Date Written: January 8, 2017
Workplace injuries are a serious public health problem, potentially leading to loss of earnings, medical expenses, disability and even death for working people. Maritime transport workers – seafarers – are exposed to higher risks of workplace injuries than is the general land-based workforce. China has the world's largest population of international seafarers. Under Chinese law, as elsewhere, losses from workplace accidents are compensated in the form of financial entitlements. However, Chinese seafarers face tremendous challenges in the workers' compensation claim process. This paper investigates the experiences of Chinese seafarers in claiming this compensation, in order to assess the protective capacity of Chinese workers' compensation, known as the Work-Related Injury Insurance System. Drawing on therapeutic jurisprudence, it explores the anti-therapeutic effects that Chinese seafarers confront in the claims process. Based on an analysis of regulatory documents and interview data with the informants – including seafarers, their family members and managerial professionals in the shipping industry – the findings suggest that current work-related injury insurance is unable to provide sufficient assistance for Chinese seafarers. Instead of obtaining effective therapeutic remedies following accidental trauma, Chinese seafarers (and their families) are indeed likely to suffer additional harm in the process of claiming compensation. The paper suggests that further measures should be adopted to improve work-related injury insurance coverage among seafarers, and that efficient sanctions should be strengthened against infringements of seafarers' rights.
Keywords: workplace injuries, workers' compensation, therapeutic jurisprudence, Chinese seafarers
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