2012 Volume 50 Issue 4 Pages 253-260
The Industrial Safety and Health Law enacted in 1972 has contributed much to the progress of occupational safety and health (OSH) activities. Many indicators including death and illness statistics show continued improvement up to date. The establishment of OSH organization within enterprises and 5-yr administrative programs formulated by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) were important factors for satisfactory management. The past programs indicate that the weight of self regulation in comparison to legal control gradually increased since late 1990s. In spite of the past achievement, many hazards such as overwork, mental stress, chemical agents and others still remain to be prevented. The systematic risk assessment of unregulated chemicals by the MHLW proved to be an effective scheme for risk-based management and to deserve continued implementation. The size of human resources for OSH was estimated at 1.5 million. In view of the adverse effect on OSH by economic, social and political environment in the future, the importance of the efficiency of OSH management was indicated. Since the efficiency depends on the competence of OSH personnel and the level of scientific basis, it was concluded that the fundamental policy for the future should give high priority to education and research.