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Civic groups want amendments to labor safety laws

2012/04/26 23:20:22

Taipei, April 26 (CNA) Civic groups gathered in front of theLegislative Yuan and urged the government to make the amendment of labor safety laws a priority Thursday, two days before World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Calling for amendments to both the Labor Safety Law and the Act for Protecting Workers from Occupational Accidents to be placed at the top of the Legislature's session agenda, the groups also urged the government to amend regulations to prevent employers from taking advantage of workers.

Industries have changed significantly since current laws were drafted 10 to 20 years ago, so regulations need to be amended, the groups said.

In recent years, there have also been numerous reports of workers dying from overwork in the fields of security, sales, banking, cargo and engineering, the groups said.

The groups recommended the amendments should include criminal liability for employers that overwork employees, and that electronic factories should publicize information of all chemicals used in the workplace.

In addition, the current act should be made applicable to both local and foreign workers, and ensure those with work-related physical or mental disabilities are entitled to life-long care.

Other amendments should include the mandatory reporting of workplace accidents and occupational diseases, as well as participation by labor unions in meetings concerning worker safety issues, the groups urged.

In response, Fu Huan-jan, director of the Department of Labor Safety and Health under the Council of Labor Affairs, said that amendments have already been sent to the Legislature for review, and will be prioritized in this session's agenda.

Moreover, the Labor Safety Law will be renamed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, but as it did not pass the last legislative session, all legal procedures will need to be renewed, Fu said.

(By Zoe Wei and C.J. Lin)