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Taiwan – Amendments To Occupational Safety And Health Act.

26 February, 2015

 

The second and final phase of amendments to the Taiwan Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) came into force on 1 January 2015. Most significantly, employers previously exempt from occupational safety and health requirements are now required to comply with the OSH Act.

Introduction

In June 2013, the Taiwan Legislative Yuan passed amendments to the Labor Safety and Health Act (LSH Act), which included an amendment to rename it the Occupational Safety and Health Act. There are two phases of amendments: phase 1 came into force on 3 July 2014 and phase 2 took effect from 1 January 2015.

Phase 1 Amendments

Increased Scope Of Safety And Health Legislation

The scope of the LSH Act was previously restricted to certain industries, such as construction and manufacturing. The OSH Act widens the scope of Taiwan’s safety and health legislative regime to all industries. The OSH Act also extends the scope of safety and health legislation to all types of workers, including interns, part-time workers and self-employed contractors.

Preventative Safety And Health Measures

The OSH Act requires employers to develop safety and health measures to prevent against injuries caused by, among other things:

  • repetitive operations (for example, line production); and
  • exceptional workloads, such as shift work, night work and long working hours.

Employers who fail to develop these measures are liable to be fined between TWD 30k and TWD 150k (approximately USD 1k to USD 5k). If an employee suffers an “occupational disease” as a result of the employer’s breach, then an employer is liable to a further maximum fine of TWD 300k (USD 10k)
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Other Amendments

  • Where an employer engages a contractor and that contractor breaches relevant safety and health requirements, resulting in an injury to the contractor’s worker, the employer is jointly and severally responsible for that injury. This means that the worker can sue the employer for the worker’s entire loss, regardless of the extent of the employer’s direct culpability for that injury.
  • An employer must adopt health management measures based on the results of its workers’ physical examinations. Further, where an organisation employs/engages more than 50 people, an employer is required to hire or contract medical professionals to provide health management services to the organisation and its workers.
  • In the event of an emergency, workers now have the right to immediately stop work and evacuate; they need not wait for an employer’s instruction.
  • Employers have eight hours to notify the Government about “major occupational accidents”. Previously, employers had 24 hours.

Phase 2 Amendments

From 1 January 2015, employers engaged in high-risk industries are required to regularly conduct process safety assessments, produce process safety assessment reports and adopt preventative measures to protect the occupational safety of workers. Highrisk industries include petroleum cracking and the manufacture, storage or use of large quantities of hazardous chemicals.

In these high-risk industries, where an employer’s profits from a failure to conduct process safety assessments exceed the maximum statutory fine, the employer can in some circumstances be fined up to TWD 1m for each violation.

The amendments that came into force with phase 2 also:

  • remove all discriminatory rules against females, such as the prohibition on females engaging in dangerous or harmful work; and
  • impose obligations on employers to make work arrangements for pregnant workers and workers who gave birth in the previous year.

What Do Employers Need To Do?

  • Employers previously exempt from Taiwan’s safety and health legislation should ensure that their processes and safety policies are compliant with the OSH Act, particularly if they are involved in high-risk industries requiring process safety assessments. Employers who were already required to comply with safety and health legislation should ensure their current processes and policies extend to workers (such as trainees, self-employed contractors or part-time workers) who are now covered by the OSH Act.
  • Employers should review their health management policies and ensure these are tailored to their workers’ health examination results and, where they employ/engage more than 50 staff, must engage a medical professional.
  • Employers should ensure that they have adequate systems in place to comply with the reduced accident notification period of eight hours.
  • Employers should ensure they understand their new obligations with respect to female workers and make any necessary amendments to relevant internal policies.

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For further information, please contact:

 

George Cooper, Partner, Ashurst

[email protected]

 

Sumin Ahn, Ashurst

[email protected]

 

Jennifer Goedhuys, Ashurst

[email protected]

 

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