Journal of work health and safety regulation
Online ISSN : 2758-4755
Print ISSN : 2758-4771
Current issue
Displaying 1-8 of 8 articles from this issue
Original Article
  • Cassandra MADIGAN, Kelly JOHNSTONE, Kïrsten A. WAY, Mike CAPRA
    2023 Volume 2 Issue 2 Pages 110-128
    Published: 2023
    Released on J-STAGE: June 13, 2024
    Advance online publication: January 05, 2024
    Supplementary material

    The role of legitimating, or reference to regulation and governance structures as an influence tactic, has recently been in the spotlight in health and safety management. An increasingly negative hue on ‘legitimating’ has emerged from this discourse, yet there is a lack of empirical research on when and why work health and safety (WHS) professionals employ this tactic. Utilising a constructivist grounded theory approach, we interviewed WHS professionals (n = 30) to explore their specific influencing objectives and factors that either promote or limit the use of legitimating. We found that WHS professionals adopted a nuanced approach to legitimating contingent on influencing objectives (e.g., managing regulated hazards) and situational factors (e.g., organizational culture). We conclude that the pervasively negative hue placed on ‘legitimating’ may undermine the importance of this tactic when managing upwards as in some circumstances, legitimating may be conflated with the influence tactic of ‘rational persuasion’, especially in WHS roles employed to assist organizational decision-makers with legal compliance.

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    2023 Volume 2 Issue 2 Pages 129-144
    Published: 2023
    Released on J-STAGE: June 13, 2024
    Advance online publication: February 06, 2024

    The paper examines the theoretical foundations and conceptual framework of the right to disconnect, taking a comprehensive and integrated approach grounded in human rights principles. It explores the impact of psychosocial risks and challenges in the digital era, particularly in relation to occupational mental health, while also acknowledging the specific relevance of the education sector where digitally related burnout is prevalent and the need to ensure the well-being of educators in order to effectively mentor and educate the upcoming cohort of young individuals venturing into the workforce. The objective is to determine whether there is a need for the introduction of new rights or the adaptation of traditional ones in response to the significant transformations brought about by information and communication technologies in the workplace. This raises the question of whether we are witnessing the emergence of a new field of digital labour law, characterised by entirely novel rights and institutions, or if it remains rooted in the same ideological and conceptual foundations, requiring only normative adjustments to address the realities of the digitised world.

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  • Tim HORBERRY, Jill HARRIS, David CLIFF, Philippa DODSHON, Joanna LEE, ...
    2023 Volume 2 Issue 2 Pages 145-155
    Published: 2023
    Released on J-STAGE: June 13, 2024
    Advance online publication: March 15, 2024

    This work focuses on a key psychosocial hazard of fatigue in mining, using the Australian state of Queensland as a case study example. In 2021/22, Queensland was the world’s largest seaborne exporter of metallurgical coal. The research presents mining fatigue management current practice and regulatory guidance, and then analysis and identification of gaps and additional controls. A series of bow-tie analyses (BTAs) were created to present the findings: these were based on the controls identified in the research, but did not directly include practical considerations regarding operational use of the controls. The supplementary controls based on leading practice elsewhere include a better consideration of mental health outcomes, processes to monitor longer term health effects from fatigue, and a greater use of fatigue detection technologies. In addition to the gaps identified, the research also presents a workable process for identifying gaps in fatigue management and potential control by means of the BTA method used. It is anticipated that this work will assist in helping to provide directions for future improved fatigue management guidelines, processes, and systems in mining and related domains, both nationally and globally.

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  • Yawen CHENG
    2023 Volume 2 Issue 2 Pages 158-170
    Published: 2023
    Released on J-STAGE: June 13, 2024
    Advance online publication: April 12, 2024

    Psychosocial risks at work have been significant occupational health concerns in high-income countries. Yet, research on how psychosocial risks at work come to the forefront of public attention and prompt government policy responses remains limited. This study adopted a narrative review approach to examine the development of policies adopted in Taiwan to address psychosocial health risks at work during the process of turning from a middle-income country to a high-income country. Kingdon’s Multiple-Stream Model was applied to analyze the forming of the problem, policy and political streams.

    The review indicated that work-related stress emerged as a policy problem in Taiwan through dynamic social processes that involved rapid information dissemination through the media, active campaign efforts of civil organizations and responsive actions of the labor authority. Policy streams concerning the choices of policy instruments were influenced not only by international experiences, particularly of Japan, but also by the preferences of domestic policy participants. As for the political stream, work stress problems ranked high in the political agenda during economic downturns and were intensified by political party competition. Medical case reports and findings of labor inspection investigations provided evidence for the formation of problem streams, while epidemiological evidence was consulted in forming regulations and guidelines for determining the work relatedness for compensation claims and identifying high-risk workers for targeted intervention.

    By understanding the dynamics of the multiple streams, researchers and policy participants of latecomer countries may position themselves better for policy changes.

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    2023 Volume 2 Issue 2 Pages 171-201
    Published: 2023
    Released on J-STAGE: June 13, 2024
    Advance online publication: June 05, 2024

    Overwork-related cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases (CCVDs), and mental disorders, including suicide (OCCMS) is a major problem worldwide. In Japan, OCCMS is known as Karoshi (death from overwork), which has become a social problem since the 1980s, and various countermeasures have been implemented to combat it. This study details the status of workers’ compensation for OCCMS in Japan from FY2010 to FY2020 and outlines efforts to prevent OCCMS. During the study period, 2,928 and 5,099 cases of CCVDs, and mental disorders including suicide, respectively, were approved for workers’ compensation. The number of cases per million employees was remarkably high for the transport and postal services by industry and in transport or machine operation workers by occupation. Policies since 2014 have included stress check measures for promoting worker self-check, prevention of harassment and promotion of gender fairness in the workplace, and regulation of overtime work. Meanwhile, the Research Center for Overwork-Related Disorders of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Japan, has conducted a wide range of research, including analysis of workers’ compensation cases and public service accidents, surveys, experiments, and on-site interventions, on the effects of long working hours and interwork intervals. Although national statistics demonstrate an expansion of the working population and a decrease in working hours, continued efforts are required to realize workplaces that are comfortable to work in. Research on current conditions and countermeasures by industry and occupation, the prevalence of the interwork interval schedule, and measures for accommodating diverse work styles are immediate challenges.

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Country Report
  • Mio ABE
    2023 Volume 2 Issue 2 Pages 202-214
    Published: 2023
    Released on J-STAGE: June 13, 2024
    Advance online publication: March 23, 2024

    In Japan, some workers experience mental illness due to overwork or stress at work and, in the worst cases, choose to commit suicide. Karoshi (death by overwork) and Karojisatsu (suicide by overwork or work stress), which should be distinguished from workaholism, reflect the extreme work conditions in Japan. Ironically, the processes to address these illnesses have contributed to improving the workers’ compensation system in the country. Currently, mental illnesses are incorporated into the list of occupational diseases covered by the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act.

    This paper outlines the history of the statutes and regulations concerning the certification of workers’ compensation for mental illness in Japan (Section 2); discusses the Certification Criteria, which plays a central role in deciding whether a case is work-related or not (Section 3); and analyzes the revisions to the Criteria in 2023 (Section 4).

    Until the mid-1970s, suicide had only rarely been compensable under the workers’ compensation system in Japan. In 1984, however, a mental illness was recognized as an occupational disease for the first time in a case where a worker suffered from depression due to difficulty carrying out his work and eventually attempted suicide. In the latter half of the 1990s, several court decisions confirmed the work-related nature in cases where a worker suffered from depression and committed suicide due to excessive burden from work but with no work-related injuries or illness in the traditional sense. Consequently, the first notification was issued in 1999, significantly changing the conventional practices around workers’ compensation for suicide of mental illness. In 2010, mental illnesses were added to the list of causes of occupational diseases eligible for workers’ compensation, and in 2011, a revised notification (“Old Certification Criteria”) was issued. In 2023, a full review was undertaken, and a new notification issued (“Certification Criteria”).

    Although the Certification Criteria are not binding on courts, many courts do rely on them to make decisions. The Certification Criteria state that a claim for workers’ compensation will be granted if a case is recognized as an occupational disease by meeting the following three requirements: [1] the worker has developed a mental illness that falls within the Certification Criteria, [2] the worker has experienced severe psychological stress at work for approximately six months before the onset of the mental illness, and [3] psychological stress that is not work-related or personal factors are not considered to have caused the disease. The most important condition, “severe psychological stress at work” ([2]), is a result of a comprehensive evaluation against a psychological stress evaluation table that classifies the intensity of psychological stress into three levels: mild, moderate, or severe.

    In the 2023 revision of the Criteria, [1] the psychological stress evaluation table was improved by adding specific examples and updating the table items and [2] principles and exceptions included for cases involving the deterioration of mental illnesses. The remaining issues include the definition of “workers of the same kind” and the need for transparency in the evaluation of the severity of multiple events.

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