Health and Safety Law

    Japan

    Health and Safety Law

    The Japanese Industrial Safety and Health Act (‘the ISH Act’) regulates the safety and health of workers in the workplace by establishing responsibilities for employers and contractors, including, through the enforcement of industrial accident prevention plans and requirements for the organisation of safety and health management.    

    Last Updated: July 30, 2019


  • Requirements

    In particular, the ISH Act establishes that principal employers must do the following: 

    • ensure, where necessary, that machinery is not used unless by employees unless it is given an inspection certificate and that third-party foreign exporters of machines have similarly had machines inspected;  
    • where necessary appoint personnel for safety and health management, such as, a general safety and health manager who will direct the work of safety and health officers for each workplace, as well as a safety officer and a health officer, among other personnel outlined under Chapter 3;  
    • ensure that employees of contractors appoint an overall safety and health controller to prevent industrial accidents;  
    • if work sites have a danger of soil collapse etc. and work is carried out by workers employed by a contractor the principal employer must give technical guidance and take other necessary measures to ensure that contractors carry out measures to prevent danger at the work site;   
    • take measures to inspect work sites used by both themselves and contractors and liaise and coordinate, as well as provide guidance and assistance for the education conducted by the related contractors;  
    • take necessary measure for preventing dangers due to machines, instruments and other equipment, as well as substances of an explosive nature and dangers due to electricity, heat and other energy;  
    • where necessary take measures to prevent dangers arising from works including excavation, quarrying and cargo handling;  
    • prevent employees’ health impairment from noxious gases, vapours, dust or pathogens etc.;  
    • take maintenance measures of passages, floors, lighting, heating etc.;  
    • take measures to prevent, where necessary, the occurrence of industrial accidents through measures such as the management of machines;  
    • train current and new employees in health and safety education in tailored to their role; 
    • ensure that no person is put in operation of a crane unless they have obtained a licence from the Director of the Prefectural Labour Bureau  
    • endeavour to investigate, where necessary any potential danger or harm to employees, among other things, and take measure to prevent risk to employees;  
    • give guidance, assistance and education on health and safety to contractors; and 
    • where provided under Article 45 conduct periodical self-inspections of boilers and other machines, among other things.  

    ‘Principal employer’ is defined under Article 15 of the ISH Act.   

    The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has also issued an overview of the ISH Act.     

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