Fri, Jul 25, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Chen says vocational safety a priority


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) reaffirmed his commitment to vocational safety yesterday, saying that "the interests of greater industrial production cannot compare to the value of the lives of workers."

The president made the remarks when he received Shih Tung-sheng (石東生), acting director of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, at the Presidential Office.

Shih is this year's recipient of the annual William P. Yant Outstanding Industrial Hygienist Award bestowed by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

The winner of the award, named after the first president of the association, is someone who has made a great contribution to the promotion of industrial hygiene.

The president extended his congratulations to Shih, saying that this is the first time that someone from Taiwan has ever received the award since it was established in 1964.

Chen also noted that he had first met Shih in September 2000 after Shih received an award from the same association for a research paper.

The president said that since the Labor Safety Law (勞工安全法) was promulgated in 1974, the government has made great strides in reducing the number of work-related deaths, adding that the on-the-job death rate dropped 37 percent between 1992 and last year.

He said that Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) has made working-environment safety one of her top priorities.

Chen Chu's goal was to reduce major vocational casualties by 40 percent in four years, he said, adding that statistics have shown that the vocational casualty rate was cut by 23 percent in 2001 and 30.1 percent last year, surpassing her goal for the second consecutive year.

The president said that this was not enough, adding "Our goal is zero vocational disasters and zero accidents."

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