Significant Amendments Proposed to the Labor Safety and Health Act
Seraphim Mar, Baker & McKenzie, Taiwan
Sweeping changes have been proposed to the Labor Safety and Health Act ("LSHA") that will make a significant impact on both employers and employees in Taiwan. The proposed amendments are being reviewed by the Legislature and may be passed at any time.
Under the proposed amendments to the LSHA, the following substantial changes would be made:
- Application of the LSHA will extend to all industries
- Coverage will also expand
- In addition to injuries caused by hazards or machines/equipment in workplace, the proposed amendments also include occupational diseases and work-related violence as part of the safety and health measures required to be taken by employers.
- Instead of being limited to traditional workplaces such as offices and factories, employers' obligation to take safety and health measures will extend to all work-related places where employers are able to take reasonable and enforceable safety and health measures
- In order to fully improve the working environment and protect employees, machines, equipment, tools and chemicals will be subject to source management, and manufacturers, importers and suppliers of specific machines, equipment and tools identified by central authorities shall meet the standards of such authorities
- Companies with 50 employees or more will be required to hire a medical officer for health management, prevention of occupational diseases and health promotion
- Generally, females will no longer be forbidden to engage in dangerous and hazardous work; however, the range of dangerous and hazardous work which pregnant employees are prohibited from performing will expand
- The employer's name and its representative person's name may be publicized if such employer commits certain violations of the LSHA
In order to protect more employees and be in line with the global trend of labor protection, the proposed amendments are made for the purpose of preventing more types of occupational injuries and diseases brought by technological developments and social changes. Employers' obligations and liabilities under the proposed amendments, though increased, may not necessarily be graver than before. For example, for violation of provisions governing the prevention of occupational diseases and work-related violence, legislators do not propose imprisonment but only an administrative fine.
At present (until the proposed amendments take effect), the LSHA is applicable to only approximately two-thirds of the industries in Taiwan, and employers' obligations to take safety and health measures concerns machines/equipment in workplaces only.