Abstract of SD-No.21

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Japan

Study on Back-ground Factors of Frequent Large Scale Industrial Accidents

Takayuki ANDO, Haruhiko ITAGAKI, Takahiro NAKAMURA, Shigeo HANAYASU and Yoshimi SUZUKI

:In recent years, especially in 2003 (Heisei 15), there have been many catastrophic explosions and fires in work-places of major manufacturing companies in Japan. For example, the explosion at the fireworks factory in Kagoshima-prefecture, the explosion of a fuel storage tank at an RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) power plant in Mie-prefecture, the fire at oil tanks in Aichi-prefecture, the explosion and fire of coke oven gas tank at an iron mill in Aichi-prefecture, the fire at a tire factory in Tochigiprefecture, the fire at a naphtha storage tank in Hokkaido, etc.
    Newspapers have reported common factors to these serious accidents: diversification of the employment system, change of the organization form by mergers and spin-offs, insufficiency of the traditional know-how concerning safety by a change of generation and/or restructuring, and mixture of workers from affiliated companies with different attitudes concerning safety.
    To investigate these concerns, a large-scale questionnaire for "voluntary inspection concerning the safety management in large-scale manufacturing industries" was carried out in Feb. 2004 (Heisei 16) by MHLW (the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), and the analysis results were released.
    The analysis results are being used not only as reference data for "The Council for Labour Policy regarding Industrial Health and Safety" but also as data for revision of related regulations concerning the health and safety of workers.
    In response to the request of the Department of Industrial Health and Safety, MHLW, we, the National Institute of Industrial Safety, offer some reference opinions from specific viewpoints, such as technical and/or statistical analysis, to supplement the above-mentioned questionnaire investigation and its analysis and results.
    We also carried out a more detailed analysis of the above-mentioned results of the questionnaire investigation. At the same time, we conducted a hearing investigation of well-informed persons regarding industrial safety and persons in charge of safety in companies, etc, independently, and compared the results with the above-mentioned results of the questionnaire investigation.
    These results and considerations, together with the analysis results of MHLW, are fundamental reference data for securing future safety in industry.

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