2014 Volume 90 Issue 3 Pages 88-93
The development of the science of labour upheld by the late Dr. Hajime Saito (1910-2014) is discussed. He led and supported the research work in the science of labour during his whole research career from the start of his studies at the Kurashiki Institute for Science of Labour in 1935 until the period he continued his work after his retirement as Director of the reorganized Institute for Science of Labour in 1982. Throughout his research career, he focused on the investigation of workload, in particular overloaded situations and practical means of improving them, by means of field studies undertaken in various industrial workplaces. He continued this evidence-based scientific research for over five decades by concentrating on three areas: (a) workload in hot workplace environment in terms of extrarenal water loss and adjustments to changing internal environment, (b) improvement needs of working time arrangements and shiftwork systems, and (c) occupational health measures required for new types of work under technological innovations and related social life changes. This lifelong research work by Dr. Saito is based on his distinctive research methods for assessing physiological load at work and adjustment processes of internal environment, such as blood properties, in accordance with the actual daily-life situations including rest and sleep periods. He thus put forward a number of practice-oriented recommendations from the labour science points of view regarding how to improve existing overloaded work processes and work-life balance. He directed his extensive effort into promoting international research collaboration with research institutions in Asian countries. Based on his friendly and attractive characters as a person of virtue, he contributed in a major way to the development of the science of labour through his longstanding leadership and keen insight.