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MOEL to conduct comprehensive inspections to prevent chemical poisoning accidents

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Apr. 3, 2017

 

The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) said on April 3rd (Mon.), "We will conduct comprehensive inspections of chemical handling workplaces to find out if they prevent chemical poisoning accidents in the workplace and inform workers of chemical hazards."

 

The inspection campaign will target 1,000 workplaces handling, manufacturing, importing or selling highly hazardous chemicals, such as substances* subject to special control, and be carried out for seven months from April 3rd to October 31st.

 

* 36 kinds of substances, including carcinogens, germ cell mutagens and reproductive toxicants, which could cause serious health problems (Subparagraph 6 of Article 420 of the Rules on Occupational Safety and Health Standards)

 

During the inspection campaign, MOEL will look at whether workplaces have implemented safety and health measures for workers dealing with chemicals, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, with a focus especially on the following three areas.

 

- Areas of inspection focus -

Workplaces handling any of the substances subject to special control

performance of local ventilation systems, whether workplaces have given notice of substances subject to special control, etc.

Workplaces handling any of the hazardous agents subject to permissible limits

levels of exposure to hazardous agents in the workplace, etc.

Whether workplaces comply with the MSDS* and warning label requirements

Whether workplaces furnish and display MSDS and educate workers about it, whether workplaces put warning labels on small secondary containers, etc.

 

* A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on a chemical product, including its name and related hazards, emergency measures and handling precautions. An employer should display and keep a MSDS in places where workers dealing with the relevant chemical can easily see it.

 

In the case of workplaces handling any of the 'substances subject to special control', such as carcinogens and reproductive toxicants, which have a risk of causing serious health problems, MOEL will inspect whether their ventilation systems work well, whether they provide personal protective equipment, whether they conduct work environment monitoring, and so on.

 

In the case of workplaces handling any of the 'substances subject to permissible limits'* which have aroused social criticism for causing occupational diseases, MOEL will inspect whether they keep their exposure levels below the permissible limits.

 

* Substances subject to permissible limits refer to 13 kinds of substances, such as carcinogens, which could cause serious health problems and have aroused social criticism for causing occupational diseases (Article 39-2 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act). Any workplace exceeding the permissible limits is fined not more than 10 million won.

 

Moreover, in order to prevent accidents, like methanol poisoning, which occur because of workers' lack of awareness of how dangerous the substances they are handling are, MOEL will mainly inspect whether workplaces display and keep MSDS that specify hazards, handling precautions, etc., associated with chemical substances and have provided related education to workers and whether they have put warning labels on small secondary containers.

 

It will also check whether chemical manufacturers or importers have prepared and furnished MSDS adequately.

 

* For information on the MSDS and warning label requirements, see the information section of KOSHA's website (http://msds.kosha.or.kr).

 

Kim Wang, the Director-General of the Industrial Accident Prevention and Compensation Bureau, said, "We will inspect some workplaces without advance notice to make chemical handling workplaces more alert."

 

He asked employers and workers to "accurately understand hazard information and protective measures before dealing with chemicals and to comply with safety and health measures".

Last Modifide Date   :   Fri May 19, 2017
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