TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The number of temp workers killed or injured in work-related accidents totaled 5,885 in 2007, up nine times from the level in 2004, when the government allowed employment agencies to dispatch workers to manufacturing sites, according to a government survey released Thursday.
The sharp increase, up from 667 in 2004, suggests that employers may have been failing to take sufficient measures to ensure the safety of temp workers. Those who died in 2007 numbered 36 among the total, while the death toll for 2004 came to 26.
A total of 2,703 temp workers were killed or injured at manufacturing sites in the reporting year, followed by 316 at sites related to transportation, and 308 at commercial sites, said the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare survey.
Eighteen temp workers were killed at manufacturing sites, 11 at construction sites and one at transportation-related sites, it said. But none died at commercial sites.
A ministry official said host companies are responsible for supervising temp workers and urged them to employ steps to prevent work-related accidents "with a sense of responsibility."
The survey said inexperienced workers tend to become victims at manufacturing sites, with 28.7 percent of those dead or injured posted to sites for more than one month but less than three months, while 21.5 percent were posted for more than one year but less than three years.
By age, 29 percent of the victims were in their 30s and 26.9 percent were in their 20s.