Helmet safety concerns for Chinese front-line workers

By Zhang Xingjian Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/18 22:43:40

A screeshot of the video, in which Dou uses a red helmet worn by managers to hit a yellow one worn by ordinary workers. Photo: Sina Weibo



A construction worker has deleted videos showing how his helmet was easily broken by that of construction site leadership. He had posted these on the Chinese short video platform Kuaishou, and removed them after they sparked huge concerns for the safety of Chinese workers. 

In one video, the worker surnamed Dou uses a red helmet worn by managers to hit a yellow one worn by ordinary workers. The yellow helmet breaks into pieces.  

In another video, Dou drops a brick on both helmets and the yellow  helmet is crushed, while the red one remains undamaged, even after several drops. Helmet safety standards require that they are capable of surviving the impact of a falling brick. 

The series of videos has been viewed 100 million times before being deleted from the platform on Thursday, and many Sina Weibo netizens have given a thumbs-up to Dou for revealing the double standard for helmets of different colors. 

As the videos have attracted so much attention on the internet, Dou unexpectedly deleted them and corrected his previous statements, claiming that those helmets were purchased by the enterprise. This has sparked speculation that he was fearful of being blacklisted among enterprises and retracted his statements to avoid further trouble.

An industry insider told the Global Times on Thursday that workers wearing unsuitable helmets was a norm in the construction industry. 

The Global Times reporter searched "safety helmet" on the e-commerce platform Taobao and found that one helmet was usually priced between 5 yuan ($0.7) and 20 yuan, and the prices could be lower if purchased in wholesale quantities. 

Zhang Pei, a Beijing-based on-site engineer, told the Global Times that  stress tolerance of all safety helmets should be equal and guaranteed. "Color should be the factor to reflect  wearers' identity, not quality."

"Frontline workers represent a vulnerable group in China, and their lives are endangered if inferior products flood the market. I believe Dou just wanted to call public attention to the risks many Chinese workers take every day," stated Cao Chengyang, a lawyer with Nanjing Dentons Law Offices. "Relevant departments should launch a campaign to crack down on inferior helmets and clean up illegal products from the source."

Chinese emergency ministry on Wednesday urged enterprises to ensure safety helmets conform to national standards.

Posted in: SOCIETY,CHINA WATCH

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