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Number of Workers Health Center branches to be largely expanded to protect health of workers marginalized from occupational health services

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Jun. 21, 2017


The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA) have announced that by the end of July,  Worker Health Center branches will be additionally set up in 16 local areas, especially industrial complexes with a high concentration of small workplaces less capable of managing the health of workers.


* By the end of July, new Workers Health Center branches will be opened in 16 local areas, including Gumi 1st National Industrial Complex (Jun. 22), Yeongcheon General Industrial Complex, Toegye Agricultural Industrial Complex in Chuncheon, Songtan General Industrial Complex in Pyeongtaek and Soju Industrial Complex in Yangsan.


Consequently, from July on, there will be a total of 21 Worker Health Centers and 21 branches operating in Korea, including the existing Centers (21)* and branches (5)**.


* A Workers Health Center, staffed on a full-time basis with medical specialists, nurses, work environment specialists, counseling psychologists, exercise prescription specialists and other relevant specialists, provides a variety of occupational health services, including occupational disease counseling. There are now 21 such Centers set up and operating across the country. A total of 165,000 workers (of which 135,000 were working in workplaces with fewer than 50 employees) used the Centers' counseling services in 2016.


** A Workers Health Center branch is staffed by one or two full-time nurses and the relevant Center's specialists. They provide occupational health services and counseling via itinerant in-person visits or video links. Five such branches were set up and operating on a pilot basis in Gimpo (Yangchon Industrial Complex), Seongnam (Pangyo Techno Valley), Changwon (Palyong Industrial Complex), Wanju (Wanju Science Industrial Complex) and Daegu (Seongseo Industrial Complex) in 2016.


Workers Health Center branches are set up mainly in industrial complexes with many small workplaces, which are located far from existing Workers Health Centers, making it difficult for workers to visit those Centers in person.


At new Workers Health Center branches launched this time, full-time nurses and Centers' specialists* will provide various occupational health services to workers via itinerant in-person visits (including video counseling).


* medical specialists, work environment specialists, counseling psychologists, exercise prescription specialists, etc.
So far Workers Health Centers have provided various occupational health services, including occupational disease counseling, to workers in small workplaces. However, workers in industrial complexes located far from such Centers have had much difficulty visiting the Centers in person to receive those services.


Setting up more Workers Health Center branches (5 → 21 branches) is expected to relieve somewhat the inconvenience that workers in small workplaces far away from Workers Health Centers face when using occupational health services.


Meanwhile, it was found that Workers Health Centers had fulfilled their role as a health keeper for workers in small- and medium-sized workplaces with fewer than 50 employees which are not obligated to appoint a health manager and had contributed to improving the health of workers through counseling and reducing work-related illnesses in the relevant local areas.


* The rate of work-related diseases per 10,000 workers fell by 8.8% from 4.10‱ in 2015 to 3.74‱ in 2016.


* The risk of cerebrovascular disorders, job stress, and the proportion of workers reporting symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders dropped by 38.8%, 68.3% and 82% respectively.
Kim Wang, Director-General of MOEL's Industrial Accident Prevention and Compensation Bureau, emphasized, "It is essential to manage the health of individual workers in order to prevent work-related illnesses."


He said, "I expect that setting up more Workers Health Center branches will be of great help in protecting the health of workers in the relevant local areas." 

Last Modifide Date   :   Tue July 4, 2017
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