Afternoon has most injuries
Nearly 90 percent of injuries sustained by workers on the job occur after the midday break, according to Council of Labor Affairs statistics published yesterday. From 2002 to 2009, the council recorded a total of 3,097 fatal injuries on the job, with 87.3 percent occurring at small and medium-sized companies. The high turnover of workers at small companies means employers are more reluctant to provide adequate occupational safety and health training, the council’s Institute of Occupational Safety and Health said. The most dangerous jobs are in construction, with workers reporting a 58 percent injury rate, followed by the manufacturing industry (21.3 percent), and the transportation, warehousing and telecommunication sectors (5.8 percent), the council’s data showed.
Taipei raises epidemic alert
The Taipei City Department of Health has raised its enterovirus epidemic alert from yellow to orange after the first infection with severe complications recorded in the city this year was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday. The orange alert is the second-highest on the health department’s four-color system for epidemics. The case involved a nine-year-old girl who was initially diagnosed on Jan. 11 with a cold, the department said. However, four days later the child developed symptoms such as general lethargy, stiffness in the right arm and confusion. The hospital reported the case to the health department and it was later confirmed as an enterovirus infection with severe complications. The girl has since fully recovered and was discharged from hospital on Jan. 20.
Free preschool a big hit
A total of 94.5 percent of five-year-olds have taken part in the nation’s free preschool program, which was introduced in 2010, according to the Ministry of Education. The number was 95.37 percent among families with annual incomes under NT$500,000 (US$16,700), the ministry said. In the first phase of the program, the ministry subsidized participation in the program for children living on outlying islands. It extended eligibility for the program last year to children born between September 2005 and September 2006. While the preschool program is not compulsory, the number of children is expected to increase, the ministry said. Families earning less than NT$700,000 per year with children in the program were also eligible for a subsidy of at least NT$10,000 per child per year for general expenses, the ministry added.
No HD license for PTS
National Communications Commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said on Wednesday that the commission was unlikely to grant Public Television Service (PTS) an official license for its high-definition (HD) channel. Funded by the Government Information Office, PTS established the nation’s first high-definition channel four years ago. However, because the operation was an experiment, the commission only granted a trial operational license. An official license would case a number of problems Chen said. For example, “the channel can only commit to a three-hour broadcast of high-definition programming per day,” he said. “A license for a high-definition channel means that a minimum of between 50 percent and 60 percent of the programs on that channel must be in high-definition quality.”