Toyota Camry engineer died from overwork

Discussion in 'Toyota Camry Hybrid' started by swhoutx035, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. swhoutx035

    swhoutx035 Casual Hypermiler

    Japanese labor bureau rules that Toyota Camry engineer died from overwork

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I guess we should all observe a moment of silence...

    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/09/asia/AS-Japan-Overwork-Death.php

    A Japanese labor bureau has ruled that one of Toyota Motor Corp.'s top car engineers died from working too many hours, the latest decision against overwork in Japan, where stoic acceptance of extended overtime has long been the norm.
    The man who died was aged 45 and had been under severe pressure as the lead engineer in developing a hybrid version of Toyota's blockbuster Camry line, said Mikio Mizuno, the lawyer representing his wife. His identity is being withheld at the request of his family, who continue to live in Toyota City where the company is based.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  2. atlaw4u

    atlaw4u Well-Known Member

    He should have gone to work for Ford.
     
  3. ChenZhen

    ChenZhen Dreaded Car Salesman

    Huh? I'm sorry the article is blocked from my work computer, but I call BS. "Too many hours" is not a cause of death.
     
  4. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    I can't see it either but that is because the URL is incorrect (shortened with periods in the middle).

    I've not managed to find the original on that site...

    Here's a link to the AP release through Google: Japan bureau rules that man died of overwork at 45
     
  5. Skwyre7

    Skwyre7 Well-Known Member

    Here is another link.
     
  6. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    I bet someone could Goolge the content of the article and find another link. ;)
     
  7. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    This sounds insane to us but overwork is a huge problem in Japanese business. The typical work ethic can somewhat more of an obsession, and your typical worker will go to great lengths to meet expectation. If you are young, you had better be there before any of your superiors gets there and you had better still be there when they leave. And so it goes on up the chain. Some companies are addressing this by making vacation days a performance metric so that they can enforce that employees tak ate least [xx] days off in a given year. (Giving up vacation to work comes with the program. We have a guy here who's pushing 70 and still does it despite decades working in the states.)

    Naturally, I think it's nuts. :) But it does tell you something about why Japanese products (cars, consumer goods, even the steel that they produce) are at the top of the heap.
     
  8. Fluxuated

    Fluxuated Well-Known Member

    Trust me, I work for Toyota, and it's not above them to work you to death. It's the nature of the business. The Japanese are VERY passionate about their work, and their pride.
     
  9. sailordave

    sailordave Well-Known Member

    In the article I read, he put in 80 hours of overtime. That means in addition to his standard work time. If his normal work time is 40 hours a week then he'd be running close to 18 hour work days for 7 days a week. I worked that in the Navy in the engine room of a steam driven ship. However, we lived, ate, and slept where we work. When I got off work my rack was less than a minute walk from the engineroom. It was nothing to knock off at midnight, eat leftovers on the mess decks, shower, and be in bed within a half hour. He probably got much less sleep from having to travel home from work and plus he may have put himself under too much stress for his heart. We, at least, got some time to ourselves when we pulled into ports or found time to relax when not in the engine room. I have seen some people go crazy working those hours. I was nearly one of them. You're trying to run on 4 or 5 hours sleep a day if you're lucky when your body is crying out for more and you're running on coffee and sugary soda. It can create an enormous amount of stress on the heart and body. I've been out of the navy for ten years now and my body is still suffering from the effects of those long hours. I'm wearing compression stockings because of my vericose veins and poor circulation, my joints ache, and still to this day if the electricity goes out I jump out of bed wide awake and ready to run. On a ship, if the electricty went out that meant the engines and generators went down and that meant we had to run down to the space to help recover from the emergency. Usually takes me an hour or two to go back to sleep after the power comes back on.
     
  10. sailordave

    sailordave Well-Known Member

    In the story, it also said he was 45. On average, Navy sailors join at 18 and can retire at 38. You'd be surprised what working those hours can do to your body. I've seen guys take early retirement at 15 years at the age of 33 and they can hardly get up the stairs because of the pain in their joints. Some studied hard for advancement just so they can finally sit at a desk in an airconditioned space and get more than 5 or 6 hours sleep a night if they're lucky. He didn't have to work in hot and heavy enviroments like we did but the emotional stress he was under can create havok on the body. Failure in their culture can result in public scorn and humiliation as well as suicide. Most of us can't comprehend such an enviroment. Don't discount the possibility that his death was directly related to his work. There's many different kinds of stress and they all effect the body and mind.
     
  11. Shrek

    Shrek Kaizen Driver

    Not only a Toyota problem:

    http://libcom.org/news/france-suicides-amongst-auto-workers-02072007


    "A spate of suicides amongst workers at French car plants reflects the fact that large numbers of workers are being driven to take their own lives by workplace stresses.

    In France there are 300-400 suicides a year directly attributable to working conditions according to Christian Larose, vice-president of the social and economic council of the CGT. Roughly one worker is killing him/herself a day because of the job that they have.

    Three workers at the Peugeot factory in Mulhouse killed themselves in two weeks, one hanging himself in the factory. After the third suicide the company began to talk about engaging counsellors. This will do little to dispel worries over jobs, or being transferred to a subcontractor neither will it comfort workers over near-constant attacks on conditions and salaries and endless demands to increase productivity."
     
  12. kngkeith

    kngkeith Well-Known Member

    Sorry Shrek, but...

    300-400 suicides a year, as quoted by a spokesperson in a union at odds with a few auto manufacturers?

    http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080704/APC0901/807070325/1536

    http://www.todaystrucking.com/news.cfm?intDocID=19271

    Apparently, truckers live 10-15 yrs shorter than the average north american male. But the MD who did the study runs a research firm that offers services to corporations and courts regarding 24/7 operations http://www.circadian.com/pages/78_trucking.cfm I want to believe he is credible, after all he was a researcher at Harvard, but I'm uncomfortable with the competing agendas.

    I do believe truck drivers die sooner because of work demands and lifestyle habits; and I believe Japanese companies (culture?) are overworking their employees.

    Keith G
     

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