The legislature yesterday revised rules to hold employers responsible for deaths from overwork, although a labor rights campaigner criticized a maximum fine of NT$300,000 (US$10,000) to be imposed on an employer as insufficient.
Following the passage of an amendment to the Labor Safety and Health Act (勞工安全衛生法), which was renamed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (職業安全衛生法) yesterday, Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries representative Ho Kuang-wan (賀光卍) expressed skepticism over its effectiveness as a deterrent.
“The law requires an employer to pay NT$300,000 in compensation for a worker’s death resulting from excessive work. In most cases, bosses don’t care about money. If the punishment is limited to fines, there will be no deterrent effect,” Ho said.
Ho made the remarks at a press conference called by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬), whose proposal that employers against whom death-by-overwork lawsuits are filed be given jail sentences was rejected by the legislature.
Although jail sentences were not included in the main text of the article, it was stated in the interpretation of the law that if an employee died of overwork, their employer may face charges under Article 276 of the Criminal Code for professional negligence resulting in death.
Under the law’s new articles, employers are required to take precautionary measures to prevent adverse health effects resulting from an abnormal working schedule, such as overtime and night shifts, which put unusual strain on the body.
Violations of the rules will be punishable by a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, while employers could be fined up to NT$300,000 in the event of occupational diseases caused by working conditions that could have been prevented.
The amendment expanded the number of employees covered under the act to 10.67 million workers in all sectors, from the current 6.7 million in certain industries.
In light of a string of major work safety incidents at the Sixth Naphtha Cracker in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮) operated by Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) last year, the legislature endorsed the proposed rules targeted at protecting workers in high-risk environments, such as those in the petrochemical industry, dubbed the “sixth naphtha cracker clause.”
Employers who fail to comply with workplace safety regulations and conduct regular risk assessments would be given a fine of up to NT$3 million, the law stipulated.
IN A HURRY: The 199,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine expire on May 31, so the CECC might expand vaccine eligibility, but distribution would begin in a week at the earliest The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Taiwan through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing program arrived yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, adding that, after testing, it would be able to distribute them by Monday next week at the earliest. The 199,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were shipped from Amsterdam on a China Airlines (中華航空) plane and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 5:21am. After the cargo was examined and release procedures were completed at the airport, the Aviation Police Bureau escorted the vehicles carrying the vaccines to a cold chain storage facility. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth