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    This story was published over a week ago–been busy–but given how much complaining I do about useless bureaucracy, it’s only fair to note that the government also addresses real issues in Japan’s changing society and economy. You know, sometimes:

    Workplace accidents involving temporary workers are increasing rapidly in line with an increasing number of day labor jobs whose workers have little experience, a survey by the Tokyo Labor Bureau has found.

    The bureau’s survey found that the number of workplace accidents in 2006 was nearly 50 percent higher than the previous year’s figure.

    In line with revisions to the law concerning temporary workers, the bureau began conducting surveys on workplace accidents among temporary workers in 2005. It collected data from job placement firms headquartered in Tokyo.

    A total of 99 people died in workplace accidents under the Tokyo Labor Bureau’s jurisdiction in 2006, while 10,078 people were injured. Two of the workers who died and 401 of the people who were injured were temporary workers. The number of injuries to temporary workers was 49.6 percent higher than the figure for the previous year.

    Many of the injuries involved workers getting caught in machines or falling down from high places. 142 people suffered serious injuries that forced them to take a month or more off work. Other accidents involved people injuring their backs when lifting heavy objects and getting their hands caught in presses, indicating a lack of experience and safety instruction.

    “Compared to regular company workers, there’s a tendency to neglect safety instruction for temporary workers, and so we want to warn companies,” a Tokyo Labor Bureau representative said.

    The surveys have only been conducted since 2005, and there’s no indication in the article of whether the bureau has just gotten better at getting reports in the interim. The 49.6% increase may be exaggerated. (The original Japanese story has a pie graph with a further breakdown.)

    Nevertheless, the conclusion that shifting work patterns are causing more injuries as inexperienced, untrained people work with equipment they can’t handle rings true.

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