Cabinet to consider work halt for high temperature times
By Lauly Li, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- In light of a recent heat-wave, with the temperature in Taipei hitting a record 39.3 degrees Celsius on Thursday afternoon, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday said the Cabinet will review the possibility of implementing work suspensions due to heat.
August 10, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Jiang said the Executive Yuan will hold a meeting next week and invite the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Council of Labor Affairs as well as law and medical experts to join the discussion.
According to the Executive Yuan, Taiwan currently does not have regulations concerning work suspensions due to high temperatures.
Frank Huang (黃富源), minister of the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration, said that given any potential work suspension standard would affect the entire workforce — applying not only to government departments but also the private sector — the government will therefore approach the potential policy carefully.
CWB Director-General Shin Tzay-chyn (辛在勤) said he does not think Taiwan needs to implement a heat-related work suspension standard. Shin noted however that as the mercury tends to surge between midday and 2 p.m., private companies should prolong their lunch breaks if temperatures hit above 36 degrees Celsius.
For his part, Taipei Department of Labor Commissioner Chen Yeh-shin (陳業鑫) said it would not be “suitable” to suspend work nationwide when the temperature hits a given high, adding however that outdoor workers should temporarily suspend their work when the mercury rises to 36 degrees Celsius.
Chen said the employers of outdoor construction projects should provide sufficient water and establish sunshade rest areas for their employees to prevent heat-related illnesses.
Lawrence Chang (張平沼), General Chamber of Commerce chairman, said the nation already has plenty of holidays in a year so if the government is considering suspending work due to heat, it should carefully define the parameters in which work would be suspended.
Son Yu-lian (孫友聯), Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general, said that as far as he knows many labor rights groups support the proposal to suspend work due to high temperature, as over the past two years there have been many cases of laborers suffering heatstroke due to extremely hot weather.
Taipei Issues First Fine Due to Heat
Chen said a Taipei construction consortium will be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$60,000 due to failing to establish a sunshade rest area for workers at its construction project in Datung District.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚) said it is the responsibility of employers to ensure a safe working environment and take good care of their employees.