Local health authorities across China have been asked to improve check to small brick kilns, coal mines and workshops on occupational diseases as part of efforts to prevent labor abuse.
Local health authorities should improve supervision and make sure that employers provide medical check-ups and treatment to its employees, who are found to have worked in dangerous or poisonous work environments, a circular issued by the Ministry of Health says.
Health authorities are also required to cooperate with police, labor departments and work safety authorities, and "report immediately" to relevant departments on the illegal activities discovered in the working place.
The use of forced laborers hit the headlines after more than 400 parents in central China's Henan Province posted an online petition, calling for help in rescuing their children who had been sold to work in small brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan as forced laborers.
More than 570 people, including 41 children, had been rescued from illegal brick kilns in the two provinces and nearly 160 people have been arrested in police operations after the government ordered a nationwide investigation and rescue campaign.
A total of 95 Party officials in Shanxi have been punished in the wake of the slave labor scandal. Some were expelled from the Party, or removed from government posts, or given disciplinary warnings for lax supervision and dereliction of duty. Eight officials being investigated by the judicial department face criminal charges.