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.
Ultrasonography suffers the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The purpose of this study is to explore the improvement measures for risk reduction that takes into account the examined region and the type of subjects. Seven sonographers who worked in a hospital were surveyed. Analysis of working postures was conducted for two body types of the subjects (standard and obese). Several postures in abdominal and cardiac ultrasonography were demonstrated to have a risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The effect of physique difference of the subject was observed in some working posture angles. If the subject was obese, the frequency of the elevation of the upper arm and the inclination of the upper body increased. To prevent musculoskeletal disorders of sonographers, it is confirmed important to adjust the ergonomic design of the ultrasonic diagnostic equipment. The improvement of related equipment is also found necessary. In particular, it is suggested that the adjustment of the examination table height was essential to reduce the workload by taking the specific working postures in ultrasonography.
The authors have proposed a new methodology for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies called “the management strategy on expert skills”, which regards expert skills as important management resources. The purpose of this study is to verify the validity of “the management strategy on expert skills” through a follow-up survey of financial conditions in the companies which applied this methodology. The results of the analysis on the profit data 3-8 years later from the database services of the companies which took this methodology show that these companies account for a large proportion of profitable companies. The strategy emphasizing expert skills continuously and widely has a good influence on the medium-term profit situation of the companies. Based on these results, it is suggested that “the management strategy on expert skills” is an effective way for improving financial conditions of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies.