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.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
CAUTION: Taiwan had zero cases of death from food poisoning for six years until last year, when two people died after eating wildlife, an FDA official said The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged the public not to eat wildlife or unidentified wild plants, as they could be fatal, with nearly 7,000 people affected by food poisoning last year, including two deaths due to wildlife consumption. The number of food poisoning incidents increased by nearly 50 percent last year, from 398 cases involving 4,616 people in the previous year to 503 cases involving 6,944 people, FDA data showed. That figure was the second-highest in history, the FDA said, adding that the highest number was recorded in 1997, with 7,235 people. Among the 503 cases, 87 were food poisoning clusters