Worker of Hualu Panasonic AVC (CHPANC) suffers from aplastic anaemia after working in toxic environment

Hu Fengchao at first just felt tired. But the 28-year old spray-painter of DVD cases soon was diagnosed with anaemia. He had been working for around a year at Hualu Panasonic AVC Networks Co., Ltd. (CHPANC) in the north-eastern port city of Dalian, China. His job involved handling toxic chemicals such as benzene, toluene and xylene. But the company refused to accept that he was suffering from an occupational disease.

Worker of Hualu Panasonic AVC (CHPANC) suffers from aplastic anaemia after working in toxic environment

Hu Fengchao at first just felt tired. But the 28-year old spray-painter of DVD cases soon was diagnosed with anaemia. He had been working for around a year at Hualu Panasonic AVC Networks Co., Ltd. (CHPANC) in the north-eastern port city of Dalian, China. His job involved handling toxic chemicals such as benzene, toluene and xylene. But after he fell ill the company refused to accept that he was suffering from an occupational disease. He was even told to continue painting DVD cases until further tests revealed that his platelet count was dangerously low; so low in fact that a minor bump could have triggered a fatal brain or visceral hemorrhage. At that point Hu was hospitalised with severe aplastic anemia.

In December 2013, Hu described to China Labour Bulletin (CLB) Director Han Dongfang his experiences, his current situation and his prospects. Hu told Han that during his three years at the plant, the company had never provided effective protective gear, only general-purpose masks that workers ended up not using because they got so dirty. Despite the exposure to toxic chemicals, the company did not insist on the use of masks in his workshop.

After a course of treatment at a specialist hospital in Tianjin, Hu was unable to resume his post. However, he remains on the company payroll for the time being. His prospects are not good; he cannot do any heavy work and needs blood transfusions. Meanwhile, instead of accepting responsibility and paying compensation, Hu claims CHPANC tried to buy their way out of long-term obligations by making “humanitarian” payments for his treatment, some of which he was expected to pay back.

Throughout his ordeal, Hu has received support from a local television station legal affairs program, the local trade union, as well as well-known worker activist Zhang Haichao. Hu is now talking to a legal aid centre in Dalian about the prospects of filing a lawsuit against the company.

Read his whole story on the CLB website: http://www.clb.org.hk/en/content/painted-corner-factory-worker-left-nowhere-go-after-contracting-anaemia