Fri, Mar 04, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Wintek employee might have died from overwork

WORKED TO DEATH?Labor officials are waiting for the results of the autopsy, while an HTC employee who died last month worked 65 hours a month of overtime

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) yesterday said it was investigating whether the death of a 26-year-old male Wintek employee was caused by overwork.

Suspected cases of death from overwork, which typically involve the sudden death of workers in their prime with no serious illnesses, but with a history of working long hours in high-stress jobs, have gained increasing attention in recent months.

On Tuesday, yet another suspected case of death from overwork was reported. The victim was a healthy 26-year-old male who assembled parts for touch screens. The man started working at Wintek on a contract basis in September last year and worked the night shift from 7:30pm to 7:30am.

Investigators have yet to confirm whether his death was a result of overwork, pending results from an autopsy.

Labor officials said work records showed that the man put in fewer than 20 hours of overtime since September, making it different from cases in which workers die suddenly on the job after working excessively long hours for a long period of time.

Meanwhile, the council yesterday confirmed that a 30-year-old HTC Corp employee who died suddenly on the job last month had a history of working excessively long hours.

Labor officials said that in the six months before he died, the man put in an average of 65 hours of overtime per month, exceeding the maximum limit of 46 hours permitted under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).

However, labor officials have yet to confirm whether the cause of death was overwork, pending expert medical opinion.

The council recently eased restrictions governing compensation for families of workers who die from overwork. The move came after the council was accused of not protecting workers’ rights and turning a blind eye to the growing incidence of overwork-related deaths.

In related news, the Taipei City Government is offering taxi drivers free health checks, including blood, urine and liver function tests.

The city’s Department of Transportation said taxi drivers often work long and irregular hours, making them prone to health problems.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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