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Red Alert for Heavy Air Pollution in Beijing


The Beijing Municipal Emergency Management Office issued the red alert for heavy air pollution at 6:00pm on December 7, listing emergency measures that will take effect between 7:00am on December 8 to 12:00pm on December 10.

This red alert for heavy air pollution issued in Beijing is unprecedented.

Beijing government implemented emergency measures during this red alert period including:

  • Use of private vehicles is restricted based on even- and odd-numbered license;
  • Operation of heavy vehicles including construction waste & residue trucks, concrete tank trucks and gravel trucks are suspended;
  • Outdoor operations are banned on construction sites;
  • Cleaning on key roads is being stepped up to reduce traffic dust pollution;
  • Fireworks and outdoor barbecue are prohibited;
  • Implement suspension or limited production measures based on the list of industrial enterprises to suspend or limit production in case of red alert for heavy air pollution.

By now, Beijing Municipal Commission of Education has circulated the Notice on Implementing the Measures in Case of Red Alert for Heavy Air Pollution, saying that emergency measures should be strictly followed and primary schools, middle schools, kindergartens, Juvenile Palace and outside educational institutions should suspend classes. Flexible working hours have also been adopted in many enterprises.

Why Businesses Should Be Concerned?

If conditions persist or worsen, businesses with outdoor operations will continue to be compelled to suspend operations. Some enterprises can be significantly affected, particularly where suppliers reduce their workforce or business activities. Businesses in the tourism industry may also see declines in revenues as foreign visitors stay away from the region. Retail and F&B businesses may also be affected, especially for those offering outdoor experiences.

Prolonged smog conditions can take a toll on employees’ health which may result in a rise in absenteeism and reduction in productivity. With poorer visibility, there is a heightened risk of accidents taking place, potentially resulting in injuries or even property damage.

Marsh has been monitoring this situation closely. Based on our experience and expertise supporting clients’ efforts to manage the risks and impacts associated with this and similar events, we offer some recommendations for organizations:

  • Workforce Safety Measures
  • Risk Management Controls
  • Human Resource Policies
  • Crisis Management
  • Insurance implications