Nov. 7, 2017
The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) has announced that it will conduct preventive inspections of more than 840 construction sites across the country from November 8th until December 7th, 2017 to prevent fatal accidents in the winter.
In winter, workers at construction sites use lignite to cure concrete soon, use heating equipment and engage in finish welding, so there is a great risk of fires, explosions and suffocation accidents in such workplaces.
In particular, the risk of accidents is high because in many cases, constructors hurry up to get exterior work done before the weather gets cold.
[Major accidents at construction sites in winter]
* A fire occurred at a commercial building restoration site in Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do in February 2017. The fire began when sparks generated while cutting metal with an oxygen torch ignited flammable materials (three people dead).
* At an apartment building construction site in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do in February 2015, a worker suffocated while replenishing lignite to cure concrete in a rooftop machine room (one person dead).
* At a wind energy construction site in Yeonggwang-gun, Jeollanam-do in January 2015, a scaffold collapsed due to a gust of wind while rebar was being placed in fire walls (four people injured).
Before the start of the inspection campaign, MOEL will have a guidance period (Nov. 8~17, 2017) during which it will provide education for project managers and encourage labor-management joint inspections so that workplaces can make voluntary improvements in advance. After that, workplaces, especially those which fail to make sufficient improvements during the guidance period, will be inspected without advance notice (Nov. 18~Dec. 7, 2017).
The inspections will look at every aspect of safety and health, including measures taken to prevent fires, explosions and suffocation, safety measures taken during work involving the use of a tower crane, etc, and the actual use of safety and health expenses.
If a workplace is found in violation of laws as a result of inspection, MOEL will take immediate action, such as judicial action, stop-work order and imposition of a fine, because the workplace was given the opportunity to make improvements in advance, and will continue to provide guidance until the workplace corrects its violation.
Kim Wang, the Director-General of MOEL's Industrial Accident Prevention and Compensation Bureau, asked construction workplaces with a high risk of safety accidents to "faithfully comply with safety rules and make thorough preparations to prevent large-scale accidents during the winter months".
Meanwhile, MOEL put up on its website* a 'safety and health guide for construction sites in winter' containing examples of accidents occurring at construction sites in winter and related safety measures to make it available for construction workplaces to use when conducting a self-inspection.
* MOEL's website(www.moel.go.kr)-policy- policy information