Recent amendments to implementing legislation for the Occupational Safety and Health Act require the Minister of Employment and Labor for South Korea to make available information about industrial accidents at workplaces. Other amendments require certain workplaces to enhance health and safety programs to address workplace fire or explosion risks.
By Kwangseog Ahn, STC Teaming Partner
Specialty Technical Consultants, Inc. (STC) is an EHSQ Alliance Affiliate.
In October 2017, South Korea made significant amendments to the Enforcement Decree of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (산업안전보건법 시행령) and the Enforcement Ordinance of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (산업안전보건법 시행규칙). The Enforcement Decree defines the items delegated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (산업안전보건법) and provides the means to enforce the Act. The Enforcement Ordinance elaborates on procedures required by the Act and sets forth regulations to implement the Act. Some of the more significant changes resulting from these amendments are discussed in this article.
Expanding the scope of facilities that may be required to provide additional information on the number of industrial accidents (new Article 8-4 (1), Enforcement Decree)
Facilities are already required to immediately report any accident (via phone, fax, or other method) to the head of the local employment and labor office, describing the accident, casualties, damage, and losses, and actions taken after the accident to prevent recurrence. Facilities must not conceal the occurrence of the accident and must document the cause of the accident.
The Minister of Employment and Labor must now publish the number of industrial accidents for additional workplaces based on the data collected from these reports, which will potentially result in increased public visibility regarding a company's accident data. The Minister must now publish the actual number of industrial accidents for the following facilities:
- Workplaces with two or more deaths;
- Workplaces where the death rate is equal to or higher than the average death rate for that industry;
- Workplaces that concealed the occurrence of industrial accidents.
In addition, the Minister may now request facilities to submit data on industrial accidents involving subcontractors engaged at the facility.
Requiring the Minister of Employment and Labor to publish the integrated industrial accidents rate (new Article 8-4 (3), Enforcement Decree)
The Minister of Employment and Labor is now required to publish the industrial accident death rate of a facility involving workers only and the integrated accident death rate of the facility involving workers and subcontractors. The Minister should already have the necessary information for the industrial accident death rate of a facility involving workers only based on submitted accident reports. However, the Minister may require facilities to submit data on industrial accidents involving subcontractors in order to determine the integrated accident death rate to be used for publication.
This requirement takes effect on the following dates:
- For facilities in the manufacturing industry with 1,000 or more regular employees: January 1, 2018;
- For facilities in the manufacturing industry with 500 or more regular employees: January 1, 2019.
Expanding the scope of dangerous workplaces where the facility must implement safety measures (new Article 30 (4) of the Enforcement Ordinance)
The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires a facility that has subcontracted all or part of its work to take precautionary safety measures when employees of the subcontractor work in dangerous workplaces that are prone to industrial accidents (Article 29 (3)). The amendments add a workplace with a risk of fire or explosion due to fire-risk work to the list of workplaces considered dangerous. Fire-risk work is hot work that uses welding, fusing, and heating of metal or similar material or work that can create sparks, such as dry grinding work using grinding wheels.
Adding fire-risk work to the list of activities that require special safety and health training (new Table 8-2 (4), Enforcement Ordinance)
Article 31 (3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act stipulates that when workers conduct harmful or dangerous work, the facility must provide special education on the safety and health concerns related to the work. Fire-risk work involving flammable materials has been added to the list of works subject to this special training. The amendments also specify the content of the training.
For more information about these amendments or other South Korea occupational safety and health legislation, contact Kasia Branny, STC Program Director, email: KBRanny@stcenv.com.
Dr. Kwangseog Ahn, CIH, has extensive experience in teaching, research and services in occupational and environmental hygiene and environmental sciences. Dr. Ahn currently works at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health. Prior to that position, he taught at the University of Michigan and Hunter College of The City University of New York. He also worked as an industrial hygienist at the Environment, Health and Safety Office of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Department of Environment, Health and Safety of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Ahn has also supported STC with the update of its EHS Protocol for South Korea, which is available through Specialty Technical Publishers of Vancouver, Canada (https://stpub.com/)
Republished with permission.
For more information about STC, see www.specialtytechnicalconsultants.com.
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