After reviewing international studies on the effects of long-term night shift work on people’s health, Taiwan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Ministry of Labor (勞動部職業安全衛生署) has indicated that it will implement new rules governing the treatment of such employees, UDN reported.
According to the OSHA labor standards set to go into effect tomorrow, companies with employees regularly engaged in night shifts should provide those employees with health screenings. The OSHA will collect data from the health checks to produce its own reports on effects of night shift labor. Companies that fail to provide the health screenings will be fined between NT$30,000 (US$1,012) and NT$150,000 (US$5,064).
The new regulations are expected to affect some 400,000 workers in Taiwan.
Night shift is defined as the shift between 10 pm and 6 am. The OSHA uses the EU standard to identify long-term night shift by calculating the overnight hours and number of days working those hours. Employees working more than three hours of the night shift for more than half a month’s working days for six consecutive months are considered long-term night shift workers. Long-term night shift can also be defined as working 700 hours of night shift over the course of one year.
The health checks provided for the long-term night shift workers will be considered a pilot program for two years. After the two-year period, the program may be expanded to include other employees.
Additional OSHA regulations require employers to provide employee health checks every one to five years based on the employee’s age. However, if work conditions are considered high risk, such as working in high temperatures or around excessive noise, employers must provide annual health checks.