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MOEL to take strong action, including full stop-work order, against workplaces causing death due to heat stroke

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Aug. 8, 2017


The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) has said that it will take strong action, such as issuing a full stop-work order and conducting a strict inspection of overall workplace safety and health, against workplaces which cause a worker's death by not following the 'compliance guide on the three essentials to prevent heat stroke', including providing water, shade and rest to workers, even amid a heat wave (33℃ or higher).


Actually, in relation to the death presumed to occur due to heat stroke at a construction site in Sejong on August 2nd 2017, the Deajeon Regional Employment and Labor Office sent its two labor inspectors and KOSHA's three specialists to the site to make the workplace stop all work and to inspect its overall safety and health. 


Although a resting place, drinking water, table salt, etc., were being provided in the workplace when the inspection was undertaken, many workers were not aware of this. As such, the construction site was negligent in preventing and controlling heat stroke.


MOEL will take strong action, including administrative and judicial action, against violations found as a result of accident investigation and inspection, and advise workplaces to come up with an improvement plan after safety diagnosis, etc.


In order to prevent heat stroke and other health problems caused by a heat wave, MOEL has

conducted intensive PR and guidance activities for outdoor workplaces, such as construction sites, to ensure their compliance with the three essentials to prevent heat stroke. However, heat-related deaths still happen in such workplaces because of their failure to comply.


So MOEL stressed that during the whole month of Augustin which the heat wave is expected to continue, it will provide intensive guidance to workplaces not following the 'compliance guide on the three essentials to prevent heat stroke' so that they can make immediate improvements and will take every possible legal action against workplaces still failing to comply after such guidance.


Meanwhile, MOEL is pursuing an amendment to the Rules on Occupational Safety and Health Standards (MOEL's ordinance) which stipulates employers' obligation to "allow workers to rest properly and to provide them with a shaded place where they can rest out of direct sunlight during their rest time, if they work in a place directly exposed to heat".


If the amendment takes effect, employers who fail to follow the 'compliance guide on the three essentials to prevent heat stroke' will be punished by imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of up to 50 million won.


Kim Wang, the Director-General of the Industrial Accident Compensation and Prevention Bureau stressed, "Providing a resting place and water to outdoor workers during a heat wave with temperatures in excess of 33℃ is more than a legal obligation that must be observed. It is a matter of fundamental human rights." He asked all workplaces to properly "follow the 'compliance guide on the three essentials to prevent heat stroke' over the course of August".

Last Modifide Date   :   Fri September 8, 2017
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