The Council of Labor Affairs has notified major convenience store chains throughout the country that microwave ovens must be placed at a safe distance from store clerks to protect them from harmful radiation.
Microwave ovens are a necessity in local convenience stores, where lunch boxes or other food purchased by customers are heated as a popular convenience.
However, microwave ovens are not beneficial to the health of workers who often stand too close to them because of the nature of their job, the council said.
The Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association recently released the results of its investigation of microwave ovens in convenience stores nationwide and found that more than half of the stores did not place the microwave a safe distance from store clerks.
Since many store clerks work behind the counter or cash register, they might stand too close to the microwave ovens, which poses a health risk because of the radiation that is emitted.
In response to the report, Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said yesterday that official notices were sent to the four major convenience store chains — 7-Eleven, Family Mart, OK-Mart and HiLife — so they could make corrections if the microwave ovens are located too close to where store clerks are usually stationed.
In addition to the notices, the council will send inspectors from local labor departments to check that the stores are not violating the regulations. Those who have not made the requested improvements will face fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$60,000, said Fu Huan-jan (傅還然), chief of the council’s Department of Labor Safety and Health.
In related news, the council yesterday also reminded employers that since Workers’ Day tomorrow falls on a Sunday, employers are required to schedule an additional day off for those whose regular day off is also on Sunday.
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