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Overworked Thai TV man found dead at work, no one noticed

A Thai News Network (TNN) worker died at his office desk at the weekend and no one noticed until the following day. The man’s colleagues reported that he died from overwork, suffered a heart attack, and passed away on duty.

The dead man’s colleagues reported that he used to shout at the TNN management…

“When will you hire more people? Do you want me to die first?”

A blogger who runs the Facebook page Shut Down (จอดับ) revealed the tragic story of 44 year old Sarawut “Bird” Sisawat, on Sunday, February 5. The page reported…

“Who said that death from overwork is impossible? It just happened. A broadcasting manager has died on duty at his desk at a television office in the Rama 6 neighbourhood of Bangkok.”

The page revealed that Bird had been employed by TNN for a long time. As a broadcast manager, he was in charge of planning the broadcast schedule and ensuring that every programme was shown at the appropriate time.

Bird worked alone for two news channels after the company expanded its business. He worked seven days a week and worked until late at night. A picture of Bird asleep at his desk became a familiar sight to his colleagues and the office cleaner over the years.

The page reported Bird could not take leave because the company needed him. He then began to suffer from health problems, physically and mentally.

On Friday, February 3, colleagues spotted Bird sleeping at his desk. They didn’t think it was anything unusual and just left him alone. It wasn’t until the following day that the officer cleaner realised that he had died.

One colleague revealed that Bird often asked the management team to hire more people to help him but he was constantly ignored.

Bird used to shout…

“When will you hire more people? Do you want me to die first?”

Another man said…

“I saw Bird working on Friday morning and was there until I finished my work. He had a tired face. I asked, ‘Don’t finish yet?” Bird has been working too hard for years and did not get paid for any overtime work because of the unfair company policy that only allows compensation days off for overtime work. Bird could not take leave anyway.”

The story went viral on Thai social media, and several Thai news agencies reported it but no one dared mention the name of the television channel because it is one of the most influential media platforms in Thailand.

Thai netizens shared their experiences of overwork in the comments. Many said that they lost their loved ones to hard work and felt sorry for Bird.

The news channel owned by True Corporation, called TNN News or Thai News Network, later acknowledged that Bird was employed by them and that the cause of his death was acute myocardial infarction.

The company stated that it was an unexpected incident and that they were sorry. The company promised to take care of Bird’s family and his funeral ceremony. They added they would also compensate Bird’s family by paying his salary for 24 months together with money from health insurance, accident insurance, and social security funds.

Many netizens urged the relevant departments, like the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and Labour Ministry, to conduct further investigations on the case and pay more attention to workerswelfare.

Dying at work is more common than you think and several deaths have been recorded in the past of people passing away at work and no one noticed until a day or two later.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.