Industrial Accident Prevention Plan
(10th Industrial Accident Prevention Plan, from 2003 to 2007)
|Notification on the Industrial Accident Prevention Plan
Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
March 24, 2003
The notification is hereby given that the Industrial Accident Prevention Plan is specified as follows:
Industrial Accident Prevention Plan
1. Aim of the Plan
(1) Fundamental Principles
a. Securing Safety and Health of Workers
Securing the safety and health of workers is one of the most important national challenges.
Employers have a fundamental responsibility to ensure the safety and health of workers. From this perspective, it is necessary that they not only implement the measures to prevent occupational accidents regarded as minimum standards required by the Industrial Safety and Health Law, but also systematically and proactively develop voluntary safety and health activities and take steps to reduce workplace risk. Moreover, workers are required to take securing of safety and health in the workplace as their own issue by seeking to maintain and improve their professional knowledge, and to take an active part in safety and health activities implemented by employers.
b. New Challenges
In a long-term perspective, occupational accidents have decreased. However
about 550,000 workers still fall victim to accidents a year. While the
number of fatal accidents is now less than 2,000 per year, it still remains
at a level closer to 2,000 than 1,000. Therefore Japan's industrial society
must devote every effort to prevent occupational accidents.
Moreover, Japan's social and economic system, which has supported the economic
development of the past and has matured, is confronted with significant
reform for the future in the context of dramatic changes in Japan and overseas.
Companies are reviewing all aspects of their business operations, including
business sectors, management models, and personnel and labour management,
in order to adapt to the new economic environment. In the labour market
there is diversification of working patterns, including increase in temporary
and part time work, and greater mobility in employment. As a result of
such changes, new circumstances may arise in the occupational safety and
health field. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully assess the impact
of these changes on safety and health. Based on this, it will be essential
to consider the form that future safety and health strategies should take
and to seek to promote effective safety and health measures.
Taking account of these circumstances, this plan is designated to introduce the main strategies in occupational accident prevention and other important issues related to the prevention of occupational accidents in Japan.
(2) Measures in the Past
To increase the effectiveness of occupational accident prevention, it is necessary to implement preventive measures for occupational accidents comprehensively and systematically while close cooperation among employers, business groups and the central government is maintained under each responsibility. Therefore, the central government formulates a comprehensive plan for the prevention of occupational accidents based on a long-term vision and states the policies that must be implemented in the future. At the same time, it indicates guidelines for measures which employers, the main implementing bodies in occupational accident prevention, will be required to take and promotes their voluntary activities.
Based on these viewpoints, nine Industrial Accident Prevention Plans have
been formulated since the creation of the First Five-Year Industrial Accident
Prevention Plan in 1958. During the first through third plans to the mid
1970's, the most important issue was the prevention of frequent accidents
with casualties under the Labour Standards Law that regulates minimum working
conditions. During the term of the fourth through ninth plans, following
the enforcement of the Industrial Safety and Health Law in 1972, the challenge
was to secure higher safety and health standards. In particular, measures
to systematically reduce risks in the workplace have been important issues
in the prevention of occupational accidents in recent years.
(3) Basic Policies of the Plan
This plan has been formulated on the basic policies indicated below, grounded on the above fundamental principles, in consideration of social and economic changes, seeking to secure the safety and health of all working people.
a. Eradication of Fatal Accidents
Since workers who play each important role in society are irreplaceable, the death of a person in the course of earning his or her daily bread is completely unacceptable in any era. Employers and other relevant parties must devote their efforts to preventing loss of life.
The number of workers killed in occupational accidents fluctuated over the 2,000 mark for 17 years from 1981, but finally went below the 2,000 barrier in 1998. In 2001, the number was in the 1,700 to 1,800 range. In the future, the plan will seek to consolidate this steady decrease and further reduce the number of workers losing their lives.
b. Securing Safety and Health at Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
The level of safety and health in Japan has been steadily improved. However, safety and health management at small and medium-sized enterprises is not exactly satisfactory, and the incidence rate for occupational accidents at small and medium-sized enterprises is high in comparison to large-scale enterprises. In order to secure safety and health at small and medium-sized enterprises, the plan will ensure the implementation of the measures to prevent occupational accidents regarded as minimum standards required by industrial safety and health-related legislation. It will also provide appropriate assistance for promoting voluntary safety and health activities as well as collective efforts at small and medium-sized enterprises.
c. Promotion of Occupational Health Strategies to Tackle Increasing Psychological and Physical Burdens at Work
In recent years, the rate of abnormal findings in regular medical examinations
as well as the proportion of workers who feel severe anxiety or stress
in their working lives has increased. In the current situation, the number
of applications for workmen's compensation insurance because of cerebrovascular
disease and ischemic heart disease caused by excessive work or mental illness
caused by psychological burdens at work, as well as the number of authorised
compensation, has gone up.
As the business environment becomes tougher, companies have been reviewing their structure, and there is anxiety that mental and physical stress due to qualitative and quantitative changes of work will increase even further. From the perspective of the sound development of Japanese society, the plan will seek not only to prevent occupational diseases but also to be more active in securing occupational health in the workplace.
d. Development of Safety and Health Management Techniques to Reduce Risks
Although the present economic environment remains severe, ensuring occupational safety and health should be one of the most important issues for business management whatever the social and economic conditions are. It is necessary to embed "safety culture,・which makes systems and individuals prioritize safety most, in companies and to establish self-sustaining mechanisms for the promotion of occupational safety and health measures. Moreover, reducing risks is a fundamental strategy because there are a variety of safety and health-related risks within companies and these risks change frequently.
For this purpose, the plan will push the adoption by employers of Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (OSHMS). Under OSHMS, in cooperation with workers, employers will evaluate risks through the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle, take necessary measures in order to reduce such risks, and seek to gradually improve the level of safety and health.
Moreover, with regard to machinery and equipment, the plan will promote accurate risk assessments by employers that manufacture and import machinery and equipment, rational and systematic risk reduction, and the dissemination of information on residual risk and mechanisms for supplying it to employers that use machinery and equipment. The aim will be for employers that actually use machinery and equipment to reduce residual risk by devising safety and health strategies for the machinery and equipment they procure which match the way it is used. The plan also seeks to diffuse mechanisms for disseminating information on risks to workers who handle machinery and equipment.
e. Response to the Diversification of Working Patterns and the Increase in Employment Mobility
A variety of reforms have been promoted in the labour sector to facilitate the diversification of working patterns and employment mobility. The prerequisite for such reforms is the establishment of a system that enables all workers to work in safety and health regardless of working patterns they choose.
Therefore, the plan will aim to establish effective mechanisms in order to achieve workplaces that facilitate safe and healthy working, including improvements in industrial safety and health legislation.
2. Term of the Plan
This plan will be a five-year plan commencing in fiscal 2003 and ending in fiscal 2007. However, in the event that special circumstances relating to the prevention of occupational accidents arise during the term of the plan, revisions to the plan shall be made as necessary.
3. Targets of the Plan
(1) In addition to firmly maintaining the reduction in the number of workers killed in occupational accidents, the plan will aim to further reduce this number, setting a target of significantly below 1,500 deaths annually.
(2) The plan will aim to reduce the overall number of occupational accidents during its term by more than 20%.
(3) The plan will aim for the reduction in cases of serious occupational diseases such as pneumoconiosis and occupational cancers, and the eradication of anoxia and carbon monoxide poisoning, which often result in fatal accidents.
(4) The plan will aim to steadily reduce work-related diseases such as health disorders caused by excessive work or stress in the workplace.
4. Issues in Promoting the Prevention of Occupational Accidents
The main issues in promoting the prevention of occupational accidents are as follows:
(1) Issues Based on Occupational Accident Trends
There has been a long-term decline in the number of casualties due to occupational accidents from the peak of 1.72 million in 1968. However, about 550,000 workers are still suffered by occupational accidents every year, and injuries requiring absence for four or more days account for about 130,000 of these. Moreover, the number of fatalities peaked at 6,712 in 1961, and has declined gradually after nearly halving for four years from 1972, when the Industrial Safety and Health Law was enforced. It has continued to steadily decline since going below the 2,000 barrier in 1998.
However, nearly 1,800 workers fall to victim to occupational accidents every year. Meanwhile, the number of serious accidents that result in three or more deaths or injuries has been running at around 200 annually, registering no decrease.
a. Incidence of Occupational Accidents by Industry
(i) Construction Industry
The number of workers in the construction industry represents about 10% of all workers. However, the industry accounts for nearly 40% of all fatal industrial accidents, over 20% of accidents with injuries requiring absence for four or more days and about 40% of serious accidents that result in three or more deaths or injuries.
Occupational accidents in the construction industry occur more frequently on sites where a small or medium-sized general contractor is the principal contractor than on sites where a major general contractor is the principal contractor.
By type of accident, falls account for about 40% of fatal accidents, and accidents involving construction machinery account for over 10% of fatal accidents.
(ii) Manufacturing Industry
Occupational accidents in the manufacturing industry account for about 30% of accidents with injuries requiring absence for four or more days, about 20% of fatal accidents and about 20% of serious accidents that result in three or more deaths or injuries.
Looking at the type of occupational accidents, those that involve workers being caught or trapped in machinery account for about 30% of all the fatal accidents and nearly 50% of all accidents with injuries requiring absence for four or more days.
(iii) Land Freight Transportation Industry
Recent years have seen an increase in new entries into the land freight transportation industry accompanied by deregulation. At the same time, distribution systems have been reviewed, and diversification in transport services has developed. In this context, the land freight transportation industry accounts for about 10% of all fatal accidents and all accidents with injuries requiring absence for four or more days. Over the past few years, the number of occupational accidents has been roughly stable.
By type of accident, work-related traffic accidents account for about 70% of the fatal accidents. In the accidents with injuries requiring absence for four or more days, falls during loading and unloading work and accidents caused by falling loads occur frequently.
(iv) Tertiary Industry
The proportion of workers in all industries accounted for by tertiary industry (here and below excludes transport, and land and port freight transportation industries) has increased due to the development of services as the change of economic activity, and it now exceeds 60%. With this increase, the proportion of all occupational accidents accounted for by tertiary industry has risen, making up about 30% of accidents with injuries requiring absence for four or more days and about 20% of fatal accidents.
The incidence of occupational accidents is relatively low for tertiary industry compared to the industry average but the incidence of occupational accidents and incidence patterns vary according to industry category.
b. Incidence of Occupational Accidents by Business Size
Over 90% of occupational accidents take place at small and medium-sized
businesses with less than 300 employees, which account for at least 80%
of Japan's workers. Workplaces with less than 50 employees account for
over 70% of occupational accidents.
Looking at the incidence of occupational accidents by business size, the smaller the size of business becomes, the higher accident rate becomes. The accident rate at workplaces with a work force of 100 to 299 and with a work force of 30 to 99 workers are about five times and seven times respectively as high as that of 1,000 or more.
c. Incidence of Occupational Accidents by Age of Workers
With the development of an aging society with fewer children, the aging of the working population is also proceeding. The proportion accounted for by older workers at age 50 and older has increased, reaching about 30%. Older workers at age 50 and older account for a significant proportion of fatal accidents and accidents with injuries requiring absence for four or more days, with figures exceeding 50% and 40% respectively.
d. Incidence of Occupational Accidents by Category of Accident
In the category of accidents with injuries requiring absence for four or more days, many cases involve falls from heights, fall to lower level or downfall and being caught or trapped in machinery. Moreover, in the fatal accident category, work-related traffic accidents and fall accidents account for about 30% and 20% of all fatal accidents respectively.
(2) Issues in Securing Occupational Health
a. Incidence of Occupational Diseases
Although there has been a decrease in new diagnoses of pneumoconiosis, there are still nearly 250 cases diagnosed with pneumoconiosis annually arising from dusty occupations including arc-welding work.
Musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain affect nearly 5,000 workers annually, and account for over 60% of all occupational diseases. Moreover, with the computerization of the workplace, there has been a notable proliferation of VDT equipment such as personal computers, but when appropriate management is not provided there are concerns over the health impact, including eyestrain and musculoskeletal related problems.
The number of recognized cases of noise-related disorders and vibration-related disorders is over 500 and 700 a year respectively, primarily in the construction industry. Moreover, the finding rate for medical examination categories related to noise-related disorders is also high.
Social concern about the health impact of ionizing radiation has increased as a result of the criticality accident at a nuclear processing facility.
Also, over the past ten years, 145 workers have died from heat stroke.
b. Incidence of Health Disorders Caused by Chemical Substances
About 55,000 chemical substances are currently used in Japanese industry, and each year more than 500 new chemicals are introduced into work places. Moreover, chemical substances can have a wide range of toxicities, including carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity and neuro-toxicity. Furthermore, new discoveries are also elucidating the toxicity of some chemicals.
Moreover, with the development of shorter product lives and the spread of high-variety, small-lot production, the workplace environment and working patterns involving handling of chemical substances are constantly changing rather than static.
Under these circumstances, there are still about 300 cases per year in which occupational diseases are caused by chemical substances. There is still no end to organic-solvent and carbon monoxide poisoning and anoxia, and other health disorders also occur due to a range of chemical substances. The number of recognized occupational accidents involving occupational cancer such as lung cancer and mesothelioma due to asbestos is also increasing. In addition, the working environment in relation to chemical substances still requires improvement in some workplaces.
Furthermore, social concerns are also mounting over health problems related to chemical substances including dioxins at waste incineration facilities and the health risk posed by minute amounts of chemical substances in relation to the so-called "sick house syndrome.・BR>
There are also concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals and health disorders in work that differs from traditional manufacturing and handling of chemical substances such as in the processing of PCB waste to make it non-toxic and work to rehabilitate land contaminated with chemicals.
Moreover, international organizations have done a range of work on the classification and labelling of hazards and toxicity for chemical substances, and management of chemicals that takes these international trends into account is also important.
c. Incidence of Work-Related Diseases such as Health Disorders Caused by Excessive Work or Stress in the Workplace
According to the results of ordinary health examinations, the rate of diagnosis is increasing every year and reached about 46% in 2001. Workers with diagnoses related to hyperlipemia and hypertension, which may cause cerebrovascular or ischemic heart diseases, accounted for a high proportion.
Clearly excessive work-related stress on workers with underlying hyperlipemia or hypertension can result in cerebrovascular disease or ischemic heart disease, and the number of cases recognized as occupational diseases or accidents in fiscal 2001 exceeded 140.
Moreover, the proportion of workers who feel severe anxiety or stress in their working lives continues to increase and has reached 63%. In addition, in recent years there has been a sharp increase in the incidence of mental illness and suicide caused by psychological stress at work, and 70 cases were recognized as occupational diseases or accidents in fiscal 2001.
d. Importance of Promoting Comfortable Working Environment
While only about 31% of workers say that their workplace is comfortable, about 86% of workers want improvements in order to create a comfortable workplace. In the issues where future improvements are wanted, "layout of machinery and rationalization of workspace,・"more comfortable rest times,・and "improvements in poor environment unrelated to the nature of the work・accounted for relatively high proportions.
Workplaces commonly raised shortages of funds and technological expertise for making improvements as problem areas in the promotion of a comfortable workplace.
Furthermore, the proportion of people who want measures to be taken against smoking in the workplace has reached about 77%.
(3) Safety and Health Challenges in an Industrial Society in Transition
Japan's industrial society is at a major turning point. In considering
the future vision for occupational safety and health, it is expected that
the following social and economic factors will have a major impact on occupational
safety and health issues.
a. Increase in Older Workers and Female Workers
With the marked development of an aging society with fewer children, the working population is also aging steadily. A significant increase in the proportion of older workers has been forecast. In these circumstances, there are occasions when existing facilities, equipment and methods of work are not suitable for older workers, and, as a result, an increase in occupational accidents is a concern.
Moreover, with the progress made in the equal treatment of men and women in the workplace, the employment rate for women has increased. At the same time there has also been an increase in the number of female workers entering a variety of workplaces, including fields where women did not work in the past.
In view of this situation, the issue of how to achieve workplaces where all workers, including older workers and female workers, can work safely and healthily will be a major challenge.
b. Diversification of Working Patterns and the Increase in Employment Mobility
In recent years, the proportion of part-time workers such as temporary employees, and casual workers has increased across all industries and sizes of companies. In 2001, these workers accounted for more than one quarter of all workers, demonstrating that working patterns are diversifying. Moreover, the development of telecommunication has led to the appearance of new working patterns such as teleworking. Furthermore, there has been a growth in so-called outsourcing. This includes an increase in outsourcing that involves in-house subcontracting in manufacturing production line work and the spinning off of company divisions.
Together, with this diversification of working patterns, there has also been a rapid development in employment mobility, which includes short-term contract workers and increase in early retirees due to restructuring. A challenge we face with is how to ensure the equal level of safety and health between long-term regular workers and short-term contract workers throughout their term of employment.
Another challenge is to study an effective and efficient safety and health management system that adapts to changing models such as spinning off company into a separate company.
c. Response to Regulatory Reform
Regulatory reform has been promoted with the aims of realizing a highly transparent, fair and dependable economy and society, achieving a national lifestyle that ensures diverse choices and creating an economy and society that are open to the international community. From the perspective of ensuring the safety of citizens, the review of regulations requires the establishment of self-responsibility systems and thorough disclosure of information at companies and the guaranteed effectiveness of regulations which are socially necessary.
The purpose of the Industrial Safety and Health Legislation is to secure worker safety and health. From the prospective of guaranteeing effectiveness, it is necessary to consider the incorporation of mechanisms to evaluate voluntary measures by businesses to reduce risks in addition to ensuring implementation of the minimum standard of occupational accident prevention measures.
d. Response to the Globalization of the Economy
With the globalization of the economy, cross-border movements of goods and people have become more frequent than in the past, and an appropriate response is required from the perspective of occupational safety and health.
It is necessary to ensure conformity with international regulations and standards in the export and import of goods, and to promote the mutual recognition of certification based on the spirit of the World Trade Organization/Technical Barrier to Trade Agreement (WTO/TBT) paying attention to the guarantee of safety and health standards.
In the human interaction, it is required to promote safety measures for
workers transferred overseas, to ensure that there are no barriers to safety
and health caused by a communication gap for foreign workers working in
Japan, and also to transfer Japan's safety and health expertise and experience
to developing countries.
e. Securing Personnel and Expenses for Safety and Health
Economic conditions are tough, and amidst the intensification of market competition and cost reductions, there are concerns about a decline in safety and health work, including the downsizing of safety and health management divisions and the postponement of safety and health education, and deterioration in safety and health awareness. However, it is important to secure the personnel and expenses needed for safety and health management work while pursuing greater business efficiency, as protecting worker safety and health is a priority issue for companies.
(4) Challenges in Safety and Health Management
a. Need for Popularizing New Safety Management Techniques
Over the long term, a substantial decrease in the number of occupational accidents has been achieved. However, there are quit a lot number of workplaces where improvements in hazardous work environments have not been made, and risks exist even in workplaces that have remained accident-free. Therefore, further efforts are required to bring about greater reductions. Moreover, it is necessary to promote precisely targeted safety and health management that takes into account a response to the range of risks in the workplace and the diversification of working patterns.
Therefore, it is necessary to disseminate and establish a system of evaluating risk and ensuring and promoting improvements in safety and health standards using the PDCA cycle based on the "Guidelines for Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems・and the related "Occupational Safety and Health Management System Guidelines・for each industry.
b. Need for Voluntary Safety and Health Activities by Employers and Workers
In order to make effective measures to prevent occupational accidents, it is essential to promote active participation and cooperation by employers and workers in safety and health management in the workplace and to encourage safety and health management work. Safety and health committees have been established as a forum for this.
However, these committees are not always active and do not adequately fulfil the functions expected of them in the Industrial Safety and Health Legislation.
5. Occupational Accident Prevention Strategy in Key Sectors
(1) Occupational Accident Prevention Strategy by Industry
The plan will put a priority on promoting measures in the industries listed below. In addition, measures to prevent occupational accidents will continue to be actively promoted in industries such as forestry, port freight transportation and mining, which have high accident rates. The implementation of the measures will be based on numerical targets established by occupational accident prevention organizations and others based on the characteristics of each industry.
a. Construction Industry Measures
The plan will seek to promote comprehensive measures to prevent occupational accidents, focused on specified master employers. In particular, it will push for comprehensive strategies to support foreman training and explanatory meeting for workers who have never experienced the worksite in order to improve supervision capabilities for safety and health management of specialist contractors, which are sub-contracted by small and medium sized general construction firms. In addition, strategies will be promoted in order to improve safety and health management capabilities at specialist contractors.
Moreover, the plan will examine the appropriate form for an overall management system, and will devise the necessary measures based on the outcome with regard to new working and contracting models, such as Construction Management (CM) method, which are forecast to increase in the future.
In order to reduce fall accidents, the plan will promote the spread and establishment of a method of erecting scaffolding by installing the handrails prior to the next level in construction work. It will continue to advocate the spread and consolidation of the precedent scaffold installation method for the construction of low-rise buildings, such as wooden houses.
Furthermore, in order to reduce accidents involving construction machinery, the plan will aim to contribute to the spread of drug shovel with built-in crane function and increase awareness of hazard alert systems. At the same time, it will seek to publicize protective equipment that ensures driver safety when machinery collapses.
In addition, in order to reduce land slide accidents, the plan will promote the spread and consolidation of precedent shoring method that workers can construct shoring without entering tunnel or hole prior to work on water and sewerage pipes as well as examining effective countermeasures for the collapse of slopes during excavation work. Moreover, it will conduct investigations into the safety of temporary structures in construction and bridge building work.
Furthermore, in addition to promoting comprehensive measures to prevent health hazard caused by dust, the plan will seek to take through preventative measures against exposure to asbestos during demolition work, and carbon monoxide and organic-solvent poisoning.
The cooperation of the ordering entities that place orders for construction work is essential in the implementation of these measures to prevent occupational accidents, and the plan will actively promote occupational accident prevention strategies in conjunction with ordering entities also future.
b. Land Freight Transportation Industry Measures
The plan will push for thorough measures to prevent work-related traffic accidents with a focus on the "Guideline for Industrial Traffic Accident Prevention・including appropriate traffic management techniques using traffic hazard maps and other methods.
In addition, in order to reduce accidents caused by fall during loading and unloading work, and accidents involving loading and unloading machinery, the plan will seek to encourage thorough methods of safe work based on the provision of safe work manuals and education that uses such manuals.
Furthermore, the plan will try to encourage shippers to improve terms and conditions in ordering and to establish safe working environments at sites where freight is loaded and unloaded.
c. Tertiary Industry Measures
The plan will enhance the thorough implementation of strategies to prevent work-related traffic accidents and the guidelines for the prevention of occupational accidents formulated for each industry. At the same time, in industries with high rates of occupational accidents, such as waste processing, business groups for the relevant industry will be encouraged to implement safety and health management activities in order to reduce specific risk of the particular industry.
Moreover, the plan will work to promote voluntary safety and health activities in other industries based on the effective utilization of safety and health information supplied by the Japan Advanced Information Center of Safety and Health (JAISH) to business groups.
In addition to this, the plan will advocate the use of safety and health fault diagnosis conducted by industrial safety consultants and industrial health consultants at workplaces that have a large number of problems related to safety and health management.
(2) Specific Accident Prevention Strategies
a. Strategies to Prevent Occupational Accidents Involving Machinery
In order to reduce accidents caused by machinery, the plan will seek to ensure that manufacturers conduct risk assessments and to guarantee the effectiveness of "Comprehensive Safety Standards of Machinery・for the safe design, production and use. Moreover, it will promote stipulating performance in the form of standards and requirements, which constitute the basis of improved machinery safety, international coordination on standards and requirements for individual machines and the use of private sector requirements. Furthermore, with regards to procedures for checking compliance with standards and regulations, the plan will promote the transition from authorized inspection agency designated by the government to registered institution to implement test and inspection at the time of manufacturing.
At the same time, it will aim to examine and introduce incentive systems for employers with outstanding safety and health management records to conduct their own checks.
In addition, in order to make it easier for employers that use machinery to introduce machines with higher level of safety, the plan will advocate measures for the indication of safety level related to the safety control device of machinery.
In view of the current high accident rate in metal processing machinery, wood processing machinery and food processing machinery, the plan will aim to make the introduction of complete strategies focused on the results of cause analysis of accidents.
b. Strategies to Prevent Work-related Traffic Accidents
In order to reduce work-related traffic accidents, it is important for employers to take independent steps with regard to the management of working hours and safety and health management rather than entrusting strategies to workers who operate vehicles. From this perspective, the plan will continue to seek the thorough implementation of the "Guideline for Industrial Traffic Accident Prevention.・ At the same time, studies in the causes of accidents will be implemented at the workplaces of parties at fault in work-related traffic accidents and measures will be thoroughly sought to prevent the recurrence of accidents based on the results of the analysis.
Moreover, about 70% of fatalities in industrial traffic accidents occur while driving or being on a vehicle, and about 60% of these fatalities occur while not wearing a seatbelt. In view of this, the plan will promote education on compliance with traffic laws in the workplace, including the wearing of seatbelts.
Furthermore, the plan will push for effective strategies, such as safe traffic direction, in order to protect workers from work-related traffic accidents caused by vehicles that mistakenly enter roadwork sites.
c. Strategies to Prevent Explosion and Fire Accidents
The plan will encourage thorough implementation of strategies based on the "Guidelines on Safety Assessments for Chemical Plants・for factories that handle chemical substances with a high risk of explosion or fire.
From the perspective of preventing explosion and fire accidents, the plan will seek the active utilization of information concerning hazards recorded on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
Furthermore, the plan will urge the implementation of safety and health education by employers with regard to fire safety in multiple-tenant buildings with small businesses. At the same time, it will seek all-embracing strategies to prevent explosion and fire accidents, including measures to prevent dust explosions caused by magnesium alloys.
6. Strategies to Secure Occupational health
In its strategies to secure occupational health, the plan will promote the measures below, while strengthening liaisons with occupational health related organizations.
(1) Strategies to Prevent Occupational Diseases
In order to reduce the number of new cases of pneumoconiosis, the plan will aim to improve the mechanical methods for combating dust in arc welding work, and encourage adoption of these methods. At the same time, it will encourage thorough implementation of measures to prevent health hazard from dust with a priority focus on industries that have a high incidence of new cases. In addition, in order to reduce the number of workers exposed to dust engaged in tunnel constructions work, it will aim for all-embracing measures based on the "Guidelines on Dust-preventive Measures for Construction Sites of Tunnels and Other Facilities.・ Furthermore, the plan will advocate health management that takes account of the risk of lung cancer complications for workers diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, including one who leaves related job.
With regard to work environment management, the plan will establish methods of measurement that suit working conditions, including consideration of the use of individual exposure measurements, and it will seek to reduce dust exposure in outdoor work sites. In addition, the plan aims for the establishment of effective and efficient work environment management techniques which utilize work environment measurement results. The plan will encourage implementing performance test of dust masks that the government purchases dust masks and examines those masks in order to guarantee their capabilities.
In seeking to reduce problems such as back pain, the plan will continue to seek thorough strategies to prevent back pain based on the "Guideline on the Prevention of Lumbago in the Workplace.・ At the same time, it will conduct investigations that will include a review of the guidelines taking into account ergonomic factors.
In order to prevent health disorders due to VDT work, the plan will encourage disseminating and entrenching the "Guideline for Industrial Health Controls of VDT Operations・in Japan.
In order to reduce noise- and vibration-related disorders, the plan will consider a review in order to guarantee the effectiveness of measures to prevent noise- and vibration-related disorders, and it will devise the necessary measures.
In addition, considering the current high incidence of noise- and vibration-related disorders caused by construction equipment, such as jackhammers and pick hammers, the plan will seek the introduction of labelling of noise and vibration levels on equipment that produces noises and vibration by manufacturers. This will make it easier for employers to select low noise and low vibration models when purchasing those equipments.
Moreover, as part of the measures based on the comprehensive safety standards of machinery, the plan will encourage manufacturers of noisy and vibrating equipment to implement risk reduction measures, and to provide information on the hazard of noise and vibration to employees.
In addition, the plan will produce all-embracing strategies, such as reducing radiation exposure in order to prevent health hazard caused by ionizing radiation.
Extensive strategies for preventing heat stroke will also be pursued.
(2) Strategies to Prevent Health Disorders Caused by Chemical Substances
To prevent health disorders caused by chemical substances, the plan will encourage collecting domestic and overseas data related to the health effects of chemical substances and exposure of worker and analysing case studies of occupational diseases caused by chemical substances. It will also promote the implementation of efficient and effective studies on the toxicity of chemical substances and studies of exposure conducted by organizations, such as the Japan Bioassay Research Centre, based on the viewpoint of making an international contribution, as well. The plan will systematically and scientifically carry out risk assessment for chemical substances and promote the rapid introduction of measures to prevent damage to worker health due to unregulated hazardous chemical substances based on the results.
In addition, in order to respond to the diversity of chemical substances handled in workplaces, and the fact that working patterns are flexible rather than static, it is necessary to promote self-sustained chemical substance management by employers based on the guidelines for Article 58 of the Industrial Safety and Health Law. This should include the preparation of a chemical substance management plan, the implementation of risk assessment and the adoption of the necessary safety measures based on the results.
In order to support the employers' efforts, the plan will conduct investigations
into effective methods of implementation. At the same time, the plan will
provide toxicity information on an extensive range of chemical substances,
exposure information, case studies of risk assessment, and case studies
of health hazard caused by chemical substances to employers. It will establish
databases in order to further diffuse and improve MSDS and conduct training
for people who are in charge of chemical substance management.
Furthermore, action plans prepared by international organizations call for the classification of the hazards and toxicity of chemical substances, the standardization of labelling methods including MSDS and assistance for developing countries. Based on these matters, the plan will examine and prepare labelling systems.
The plan will promote prevention strategies based on expert investigations for chemical substances with particularly high toxicity such as carcinogenicity. At the same time, substitution with low toxicity chemical substances leads to substantial increases in safety. Therefore, the plan will advocate the replacement of highly toxic chemical substances.
In particular, the plan aims to prohibit the use of asbestos, except where it is essential for the safety of the people. At the same time, it will encourage thorough implementation of measures to prevent the exposure to asbestos of workers engaged in the demolition of buildings.
It will take measures to prevent exposure to toxic chemical substances including dioxins in waste incineration facilities, the chemical substances involved in the so-called "sick-house syndrome,・and other toxic substances at PCB waste processing work and work to rehabilitate land that has been contaminated with chemical substances. It will advocate research into endocrine disrupting chemicals and push for measures to prevent organic-solvent and carbon monoxide poisoning and anoxia.
In order to prevent health disorders caused by new chemical substances, it will promote investigation of toxicity conducted by employers that manufacture and import new chemical substances and seek the effective and efficient implementation of measures to prevent health hazard based on the results of those studies.
With regard to work environment management, the plan will establish methods of measurement that meet the actual working conditions including consideration of the use of individual exposure measurements, and it will seek to reduce exposure to toxic chemical substances in outdoor workplaces. Moreover, the plan will seek the establishment of efficient and effective work environment management techniques that utilize work environment measurement results, and it will encourage the implementation of strategies to prevent exposure to chemical substances. It will conduct reviews of the control concentration that serves as the standard for determining control classification based on work environment measurement results and taking into account scientific knowledge. Furthermore, it will encourage to implementing performance test of gas masks that government purchase gas masks and implement performance test in order to guarantee their capabilities.
(3) Mental Health Strategies
To secure mental health of workers, on the basis of the "Guidelines for Promoting Mental Health Care in Enterprises,・the plan will promote the creation of an appropriate "Mental Health Promotion Program・by employers that takes into consideration the circumstances of the workplace. It will encourage the active promotion of mental health care that involves self-care and line-care conducted by managers and supervisors in accordance with the program. In addition, it will aim to eliminate prejudice against depression or mental disorder in the workplace and to establish systems that lead to the prevention and early detection of depression, followed by appropriate treatment and return to work. At the same time, the plan will promote effective liaison with resources outside the workplace. Furthermore, it will examine strategies for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the promotion of mental health strategies, the plan will pay particular attention to the protection of privacy.
With regard to preventing suicide, it will seek to publicize the "Workplace Suicide Prevention Manual.・ At the same time, it will secure a counselling system and promote suicide prevention strategies in conjunction with relevant organizations of occupational health and community health. In addition, the plan will continue to conduct research into worker suicide in order to contribute to effective policy formulation.
(4) Strategies to Prevent Health Disorders Caused by Excessive Work
In order to make definite progress in the prevention of health disorders caused by excessive work, the plan aims to reduce long hours of overtime work which tends to cause overwork, and to encourage taking annual paid leave. At the same time, it will enhance thorough implementation of health management strategies if long-hours work exists and there are concerns over fatigue. These strategies will include the use of industrial physicians and registered physicians at regional occupational health centers with improvements being made on the basis of their recommendations and health advice based on consultations with workers. Furthermore, the plan will aim for all-embracing measures to prevent recurrence when work-related diseases arise from excessive work.
(5) Strategies to Ensure Occupational Health in the Workplace
In order to ensure the mental and physical health of workers and to prevent occupational diseases and work-related diseases, the plan will enhance the appointment of industrial health staff, including industrial physicians and health management workers, and improvements in their expertise. At the same time, it aims to further promote strategies to prevent work-related diseases, including the implementation of health examinations and follow-up measures based on the results and the implementation of workplace inspections and improvements based on the results.
In addition, the plan will strengthen collaboration with regional occupational health centres that provide occupational health services to small businesses and the occupational health promotion centres that support industrial physicians and other industrial health workers.
In order to effectively promote strategies to ensure occupational health, it is necessary to establish a relationship of trust with workers first. Therefore, the plan will seek to step up privacy protection for health information, including the results of health examinations.
In addition to the above, the plan will promote the following strategies.
a. Strategies for Small Businesses
In order to ensure occupational health at small businesses where medical examination implementation rates and consultation rates are low and prevalence rates of abnormal findings are high, the plan will advocate the use of regional occupational health centers and Support Projects for Safety and Health Activities Taken by Small Businesses (industrial physician joint appointment projects). At the same time, the plan will indicate concrete forms for occupational health activities and encourage such activities.
b. Health Promotion Strategy
The plan will encourage improving health promotion techniques based on a comprehensive evaluation of health promotion strategies in the workplace. At the same time, it will aim to disseminate and consolidate health promotion in the workplace by setting targets and clarifying evaluations related to health promotion and advocating it systematically. In particular, the plan will encourage the dissemination and consolidation of health promotion measures at small businesses, which tend to lag behind in this area. Based on the establishment of the Health Promotion Law, the plan seeks to strengthen liaison with regional health centers to push for more effective health promotion.
(6) Strategies to Create a Comfortable Workplace
In order to achieve comfortable workplace environment for all workers, and in response to the aging of the working population, the expansion in the sectors in which women work, and the diversification of working patterns, the plan will encourage developing and disseminating techniques for making the workplace more comfortable that are based on an ergonomic perspective. At the same time, it will seek the construction of a system for the continuous and systematic evaluation of measures in addition to the system of evaluation for the comfortable workplace promotion plans that businesses produce. In addition, in order to further popularize and consolidate the creation of comfortable workplaces, the plan will announce employers with recognized comfortable workplace promotion plans.
Furthermore, based on the trend of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the plan will promote the collection of information on strategies for effective separation of smoking and non-smoking areas in the workplace as well as the development and popularization of such strategies. At the same time, it will review and publicize strategies to prevent passive smoking in order to make them more effective.
7. Strengthening Safety and Health Management Strategy
(1) Promoting the Utilization of Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems
Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (OSHMS) are effective for reducing the risk of occupational accidents rationally and systematically, as well as achieving the transmission of safety and health management expertise. Furthermore, with the increasing mix of workers with different chains of command in the workplace as a result of the diversification of working patterns, it serves to implement safety and health management in an appropriate manner.
Consequently, the plan will actively promote the introduction of the OSHMS in accordance with the requirements of each industry and business size.
In order to promote the dissemination and consolidation of OSHMS and with the aim of encouraging business motivation for implementation, the plan will consider the adoption of a mechanism that can provide external confirmation, in response to requests from employers, of whether a system based on the "Guidelines for Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems・has been appropriately introduced and whether the system is being properly operated for improving the level of safety and health stage by stage .
In addition, the plan will encourage to establishing manuals for each industry in order to effectively implement risk assessment by workplaces. Pursuing the widespread adoption of the manuals, it will promote self-sustained safety and health management at small and medium-sized enterprises.
Furthermore, the plan will consider the form that incentives to encourage safety and health management activities at workplaces should take for businesses with outstanding safety and health standards where self-sustained safety and health management is entrenched, and it will aim to introduce these incentives.
(2) Strategies for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
In order to reduce occupational accidents at small and medium-sized enterprises, the plan will seek the thorough implementation of the occupational accident prevention measures required by legislation, and it will promote voluntary safety and health activities.
To achieve this, it will encourage to conducting voluntary safety and health activities by occupational accident prevention organizations and increase the penetration of these activities into small and medium sized enterprises. At the same time, the plan will step up provision of and access to safety and health information. In the provision of safety and health information, it will take full advantage of channels including the Labour Insurance Affairs Union and small and medium-sized business groups. Combined with this, the plan will seek to introduce methods of providing safety and health information using electric media, for example, e-mail magazines, in response to requests from small and medium-sized businesses.
Furthermore, the plan will actively promote the establishment of self-sustained safety and health management mechanisms within small and medium-sized enterprises so that they are able to continue voluntary safety and health activities beyond the period during which they receive government assistance.
(3) Promotion of Voluntary Safety and Health Activities by Employers and Workers
The plan recognizes that employers and workers have a responsibility to seek to step up the activities of safety and health committees, with an awareness of their own roles in the prevention of occupational accidents as those most familiar with workplace circumstances. In addition, it will aim for the introduction of mechanisms that provide information of the activities of safety and health committees to all relevant parties including workers and call for opinions from them in order to foster greater interest and a sense of participation.
Meanwhile, at small businesses, which are not required to establish safety
and health committees, the plan will promote the establishment of opportunities
for hearing the opinions of relevant workers in place of safety and health
committees, and the proactive adoption and reflection of workers' opinions
in occupational safety and health strategies using this forum.
Furthermore, the plan will encourage the adoption of hazard prediction activities, which are effective techniques for promoting an atmosphere of taking preemptive safety and health action in the workplace, and will promote voluntary safety and health activities as well as enhance safety awareness among workers.
(4) Enhancement of the Personnel Base
There is a need to adapt the various qualifications in the industrial safety and health field to advances in technology. Therefore, the plan will consider mechanisms to evaluate the levels of knowledge and skills required of qualification holders using the private sector. With regard to restricted work, onsite practical qualifications such as operation chief, and safety and health education for onsite workers, the plan will enhance the content of training for response to emergencies. Furthermore, it will implement hazard awareness refresher training to increase sensitivity to hazards and to refine the skills for avoiding hazards.
In order to foster workers with a strong awareness of safety and health, education before starting work is effective. Therefore, the plan will work in cooperation with education at the school level to disseminate safety and health education.
In addition, the understanding of the general public, including the families of workers, is essential in promoting the prevention of occupational accidents. Accordingly, the plan will use every opportunity to publicize the importance of occupational accident prevention and request cooperation from the general public.
(5) Strategies in Response to the Diversification of Work Patterns and the Increase in Employment Mobility
The plan will consider strategies to prevent occupational accidents at facilities that include sub-contracted workers working under supervisors with management authority from the perspective of ensuring equal safety and health conditions regardless of working patterns, in the context of the rapid diversification of working patterns.
In addition, from the perspective of securing equal safety and health conditions regardless of the length of the term of employment in the context of rapidly increasing employment mobility, the plan will seek to promote safety and health education, which includes education at the time of employment, as well as examining mechanisms that facilitate continuous health management.
(6) Strategies to Prevent Occupational Accidents Involving Older Workers
In order to prevent accidents involving older workers, the plan will promote improvements to machinery and facilities that take account of the physical characteristics of older workers as well as improvements to the working environment and work methods. Moreover, the plan will push for the development and diffusion of techniques to increase comfort in the workplace that take account of ergonomics, and it will seek the realization of a comfortable workplace environment for all workers, including older workers. Furthermore, the plan will seek to popularize comfort in the workplace by publishing workplaces that have been recognized as comfortable workplaces and liaising with employment security organizations.
(7) Strategies for Foreign Workers
In order to prevent accidents involving foreign workers, the plan will
promote the development of safety and health educational materials that
are effective and easy for foreign workers to understand in order to make
up for communication gaps. It will seek the thorough adoption of safety
and health education at the time of employment using these educational
materials. In addition, the plan will seek to provide foreign language
information through the Japan International Center for Occupational Health
and Safety (JICOSH) in order to facilitate easy access to Japan's occupational
safety and health data for foreign workers. Concerning the workplaces that
employ foreign workers, the plan will also encourage to carry out safety
and health audit by industrial safety consultants and industrial health
8. Consolidation of the Support System for Preventing Occupational Accidents
(1) Consolidation of the Information Provision System
JAISH already provides a system that facilitates Internet access to useful safety and health information such as accident case studies and legal notifications, and the plan will continue promoting to provide information from JAISH.
Moreover, the plan will promote the provision of information using the virtual reality and 3D theaters at JAISH which allow the simulation of occupational accidents in order to contribute to raising awareness of safety and health. In addition to these theaters, JAISH runs the Industrial Safety Museum that displays a range of machinery, equipment and protective clothing. Strengthening the links between the functions of these three interactive facilities, it will position JAISH as a center for the dissemination of information in the occupational safety and health field to contribute to the safety of the entire population.
(2) System Consolidation for Risk Assessment and Research
In order to acquire the basic information when considering industrial safety and health laws and related legislations, the plan will consider cooperation with research institutes which implement risk assessment based on a scientific and positive prospective and study into the causes of occupational accidents from an expert technical standpoint.
In addition, the plan will develop accident analysis techniques in order to investigate the true causes of accidents, which include not only human and physical factors but also underlying management factors. It will also look into mechanisms for linking studies into the causes of accidents with effective strategies to prevent recurrence.
Research in the occupational safety and health field has been focused on a natural science approach to the causes and the prevention of occupational accidents. For the future, in addition to research in the field, the plan will take measures to make occupational accident prevention strategies even more effective and efficient considering conditions for the popularization of strategies to prevent occupational accidents, cost benefit analysis and a social science perspective such as the forms that social systems should take.
Furthermore, it is necessary to formulate occupational safety and health strategies that are based on the overall needs of industry and scientific risk assessment. Therefore, the plan will seek close cooperation between research organizations, government organizations and industry in the selection of topics for studies and the utilization of research results.
(3) Enhancing the Activities of Occupational Accident Prevention Organizations
The plan will promote the development of effective support services based on the needs of employers by safety and health organizations, such as industrial accident prevention organizations, and will encourage their activities in extending and establishing such services.
In particular, the plan will promote the implementation of continuous research into effective risk reduction strategies particular to each industry conducted by the industrial accident prevention organizations in each industry and the utilization of research results in occupational accident prevention strategies in each sector. At the same time, in order to continue to effectively advance safety and health management activities, the plan will consider methods for transmitting and utilizing the expertise of specialist staff on safety and health.
In addition, from the perspective of promoting occupational accident prevention activities by workers and employers, the plan will consider effective utilization of occupational accident prevention instructors to improve safety and health management in small and medium-sized enterprises.
(4) Response to the Growth of Outsourcing in Occupational Safety and Health Services
It is difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises to employ staff with specialist knowledge and expertise in all fields of occupational safety and health and to keep safety and health equipments on hand. The need for outsourcing of specialist services is also increasing even among large-scale enterprises. Considering these circumstances, the plan will conduct an examination into the use of high quality, external specialist organizations that provide expert occupational safety and health services in response to requests from companies, and the ideal form that safety and health management based on the use of these organizations should take.
(5) Administrative Developments based on the International Perspective
The plan will aim to incorporate international conventions and standards
in relation to safety and health, including ILO Conventions, into Japan's
system. At the same time, it will aim to further promote international
contributions, which will include Japan's active participation from the
stage of international conventions and standards formulation, as well as
encouraging proactive proposals from Japan.
In addition, in order to secure the safety and health of Japanese workers working at Japanese companies that expand overseas, the plan will hold safety and health seminars for overseas Japanese companies and provide safety and health information through JICOSH. At the same time, the plan will encourage the implementation of measures, such as overseas health consultation that teams of Japanese physicians and nurses tour around developing countries to give health consultation for Japanese people living in those countries.
Moreover, the plan will actively promote technical cooperation with developing countries in the occupational safety and health sector.
(6) Implementation of Policies Based on Evaluation
The evaluation of policies regarding the securing of the safety and health of workers has already been partially implemented. However, the plan will examine appropriate methods of evaluation for safety and health policies including strategies to prevent occupational accidents in each industry, strategies for small and medium-sized enterprises, and the establishment of self-sustained safety and health management systems in the light of future expectations based on changes in the labour market and the development of scientific technology. It will aim for the efficient and effective implementation of policies based on proper evaluation.