According to the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, publicly-traded listed corporations in Japan are required to disclose their financial reports to financers and the public within three months after each account closing date. Occupational safety and health (OSH) status are not statutory entries on the financial reports, and hence are disclosed by only 0.3 % of approximately 3,000 listed publicly-traded corporations. Even disclosed information on OSH is poorly indicated. The very limited number of companies and limited OSH content illustrates the negative attitude of Japanese corporations regarding disclosure of information that could be used for comparisons despite non-financial issues. In contrast, corporations in the U.S. and Europe exhibit quite a different attitude on disclosure, since both corporations and institutional investors respect the culture, value, and philosophy of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Many Japanese corporations believe that the information on OSH is a matter of labor customs or legal regulations rather than a financial issue, a fact that has disrupted disclosure on OSH from the CSR viewpoint. Globalization of financial and capital markets and the future introduction of international accounting standards will lead Japanese corporations to properly disclose all kinds of information, whether non-financial or financial. Corporations or business operators will also need to develop the ability to express their views on worker protection. Comparing the disclosure of OSH information on financial reports of Japanese and European corporations, this paper explores the potential strategies that we should take to improve worker safety and health via improved practices of corporate accounting.
In recent years a new type of depression has occurred prominently in Japanese society. In the field of occupational mental health, the problem of how to deal with employees suffering from this new type of depression is an urgent one for many companies. However, from the viewpoint of psychiatry this type of depression is not a purely academic concept, but a kind of hotchpotch that includes true depression, mild psychosis, neurosis, some personality disorders, adjustment disorders, escapism from company circumstances, idleness, and so on. On the one hand it is not necessarily a valid or reliable diagnosis; on the other hand it reflects the spirit of Japanese modern times. In this sense, diagnosis of this new type of depression is still unstable and there is some doubt about whether it will remain a problem for an extended period. In order to inquire into the essence of the new depression, it is necessary that expert clinical psychiatrists assess life history in detail from genetic (i.e . psychogenic, endogenous or exogenous) perspectives, using a situation-oriented and personality-oriented approach.
Safety and health at work are to be achieved through improving work conditions both quantitatively and qualitatively. To further upgrade the quality of working life, we need to optimize non-work time, combined with improved work circumstances. The most common timeframe of non-working hours is the interval from the end of the workday to the start of the next workday. As stipulated in the European Union’s Working Time Directives, a sufficient duration of rest after work should be provided on a daily basis. Studies demonstrate that among activities during the daily rest period, adequate sleep serves a critical role in fatigue recovery, safety on the job, and overall good health. On a weekly basis, weekends can be an essential time period for recovery from fatigue accumulated during weekdays and preparation to the next week. It is impossible, however, to fully compensate sleep deficit with a longer duration of sleep by getting up later on weekends; on the contrary, excessive sleep on the weekends may cause increased sleepiness and fatigue up to the following Wednesday. From a long-term perspective, a prolonged period of short or poor sleep is associated with elevated risk of health disorders and disability retirement. Better health and safety during working hours will require protected periods of non-working hours and better sleep. This novel challenge is a task shared by authorities, workplaces, and workers themselves.
Aerosol generation methods that continuously generate polydisperse nanomaterial particles simulating workplaces handling nanomaterials are required for evaluating nanomaterial exposure and measurement methods. In this study, a vortex shaker method that has been suggested as one of the dustiness test methods was applied, and its performance as a continuous nanomaterial generator was investigated. Nano-TiO2 powder P25, which is widely-used as engineered nanoparticles, was used to verify the performance. The time-series behavior of number concentrations and size distributions of particles were measured by real-time monitoring instruments. The results showed that almost all the nanomaterials were generated as agglomerates with more than 100-nm sizes. In the submicron size range, the profiles of the size distribution were maintained despite the elapsed time of the generation, although the concentrations were changed. By agitating the samples with small beads, the initial concentration and size distribution were maintained. In the micron size range, the initial generation state was maintained for a long period without the beads, while the concentrations were increased when the beads were used. This study proposes that these generation methods are applicable to evaluating the performance of the nanomaterial measurements with real-time particle counters, which require only a small volume of air sample.
In this study, we conducted a questionnaire survey on the level of safety awareness regarding the operation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems in order to identify a means of risk communication for the safe utilization of MRI systems among medical staffs. The subjects were 246 participants and the level of awareness was assessed on a four-point scale. For all 20 questions, the radiological technologists (N=51) scored significantly higher (p<0.001, t-test) than those in other medical occupations (N=190). A factor analysis of the results yielded the following three factors: Factor 1, safety awareness related to MRI examinations; Factor 2, safety awareness related to magnetic fields; and Factor 3, safety awareness related to MRI equipment. In a comparison of subscale scores for each factor by occupation and by presence or absence of experience in MRI examinations, Factor 2 scored highest (Tukey-kramer, p<0.001) in all cases. For the other factors, the level of awareness among respondents in occupations other than radiological technologist was low. The results also indicated that the effect of experience in MRI examinations on the level of awareness is limited. Since problems in operating MRI systems can lead to serious personal injury, it is advisable to provide safety training and other measures in view of these results.