July 18, 2018
With a nationwide heat wave warning issued and the sweltering summer weather forecast to continue for a while, the Ministry of Employment and Labor (Minister Kim Young-joo) has begun in earnest activities and publicity campaigns to prevent heat-related illness in a heat wave (33℃ or higher) and distributed to its local offices the Guidelines for Heat Stress Prevention.
According to the Guidelines, in cases where a worker died of heat stress, a labor inspector should check through on-site investigation whether the employer had complied with the Basic Rules for Prevention of Heat Stress (water, shade and rest), and if there has been a violation, the employer will be punished in accordance with the law*.
* Violation of the Regulations on Occupational Safety and Health Standards Articles 566 (Rest, etc.), 567 (Installation of Rest Facilities), or 571 (Supply of Salt, Drinking Water, etc.): Imprisonment of 5 years or less, or a fine of 50 million won or less (Application of the Article 24 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act)
The main contents of the Basic rules for Prevention of Heat Stress set out by MOEL are as follows:
- Workers should be supplied with cool and clean water.
- Shade must completely block sunlight and be large enough to accommodate workers who want to rest. It should be provided in a safe place without any hazards, including noise and falling objects.
- Rest time should be allocated properly according to the temperature, and longer rest time should be given if humidity is high. New employees and employees who have just returned from a vacation should have more rest time so that they can adapt to the heat.
In addition, workplaces should intensively monitor their overall occupational safety and health-related aspects, and should take safety and health measures for outdoor workers and suspend all related operations until heat-related hazardous conditions are fully addressed.