Occupational Safety and Health

Roadmap to Zero Fatality at work

    • Occupational fatality rate per 10,000 workers in Korea has drastically decreased to one-third from 1.23 to 0.43‰ over the past 20 years. However, the scale of serious accidents in Korea exceeds its economic standing*, and the occupational fatality rate per 10,000 workers has been in limbo at the 0.4~0.5‰ level for eight years, even though the level of punishment* has been strengthened.

      * Fatality rate per 10,000 workers of Korea is ranked 34 among 38 OECD member countries

      ** Full revision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”), and enactment of the Serious Accident Punishment Act

    • Accordingly, the Korean government selected the establishment of the "Roadmap to Zero Workplace Fatality" ("Roadmap") as one of the national priority tasks, and came up with the "Roadmap" after collecting opinions from all the stakeholders. (November 30, 2022)

    • Gist of 「Roadmap to Zero Fatality at Work」

      <1> Establishment of a “Self-regulation Prevention System” focused on risk assessment

      ◈ The aim is to support 「Self-regulation Prevention System」 in which businesses identify and modify risk factors, and to hold the businesses accountable for serious accidents

      ◈ The laws and inspection system for occupational safety and health underwent a major reform aimed at supporting 「Self-regulation Prevention System」

      (Risk Assessment) The focus is on identifying and modifying major risk factors and on prevention of recurrence. A phased approach will take place to make the system mandatory by 2025.

      - To disseminate risk assessment and bolster implementation,

      1) easy-to-use and convenient checklist methods and OPS*(One Point Sheet) will be developed and disseminated;

      2) statement for accident investigation** will be disclosed;

      3) workers are to be engaged widely in the process; and

      4) Tool Box Meeting or TBM before starting work will be promoted.

      * For simple work using a ladder or elevated work platform, a one-page descriptive risk assessment will be required before starting work

      ** By supporting recurrence prevention of similar/same type accidents, the statement is expected to be utilized as a public resource for ‘Serious Accident Prevention’

      *** (As-is) Workers are engaged only in certain process including identifying risk factors and drawing up plans for improvement → (To-be) Workers are to participate in every process

      (Laws) Reflecting industrial and technological changes, rules for safety and health standard including 679 articles have been updated, provisions on prevention and punishment categorized, and notices and guides* for prevention provisions enacted.

      * Detailed information is provided through notices and guides so that businesses can selectively apply them pursuant to characteristics of the workplace

      - The 「Serious Accident Punishment Act」 aims to strengthen the effectiveness of serious accidents prevention and to improve the way sanctions are imposed and overhaul the system by referring to the cases of advanced countries, thus to encourage investment on safety.

      ☞ A 「Task Force for Improving Laws on OSH」 to revamp OSH Act and Serious Accident Prevention Act will be launched in the first half of 2023

      (Inspection) Inspection will be changed from regular inspection to ‘risk assessment check’. However, when serious accidents are identified through investigation and strategic inspection, the enterprises concerned will be held heavily accountable.

      <2> Intensive support and supervision for sectors vulnerable to serious accidents including SMEs

      ◈ To induce drastic reduction of serious accidents, intensive support and supervsion will be put into place for serious accident-prone areas such as ①Small and medium-sized enterprises, ②Construction/manufacturing industry, ③Falling/Crushing/Collision accidents, and ④Subcontracting worker accidents

      (SMEs accouting for 80.9% of fatal accidents) Full support for improving safety management capabilities will be provided through government financial support, including comprehensive support for the ‘Safe Workplace Package’ and customized facility and manpower support

      (FallingㆍCrushingㆍCollision, 62.6%) To deal with these three major accident types, on-site special supervision will be taken place focusing on 8 major factors*

      * ΔFalling: ①Scaffold, ②Roof, ③Ladder, ④Elevated Work Platform ΔCrushing: ⑤Protective Equipment, ⑥LOTO(Lock-Out, Tag-Out) ΔCollision: ⑦Mixed Work among different subcontractors, ⑧Anti-collision Equipment

      (Subcontract Workers, 40%) Safety management roles between the contractor and subcontractors will be clarified. Government support will be provided for the enhancement of subcontractor safety management capabilities through win-win cooperation between large and small businesses.

      <3> Spreading safety-conscious culture through participation and cooperation

      ◈ To make 「Self-regulation Prevention System」 effective, the role and responsibility of workers as a main agent of safety and health should be clearly defined and active worker engagement is required

      ◈ The foundation for continued mitigation of serious accidents should be laid through labor-management participation, and development of safety culture and practices based on national consensus

      (Expanding the accountability and engagement of workers)The 「OSH Act」 will clearly define the workers’ obligation to comply with key safety rules. Accordingly, the Government will guide that standard safety and health management regulations and employment rules also reflect the workers’ obligation.

      - The establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Committee will be mandatory for businesses with over 30 workers from over 100 workers. Worker-driven safety proposals and suspension of work will be encouraged, and workers engagement including honorary occupational safety inspectors expanded.

      (Spreading Safety Culture) To enhance awareness, month of occupational safety and health will be newly introduced. A nation-wide safety campaign at the central, regional and sectoral level will be launched, and safety culture evaluation index (KSCI) developed.

      (Bolstering Safety Training) On-site safety training such as pre-work safety check meetings like Tool Box Meeting or TBM will be expanded and strengthened. Safety and health education will also be expanded to all stages of life from elementary, middle, and high school to adults.

    • From 2023 on, the Government plans to promptly embark on the implementation of the "Roadmap to Zero Fatality at work" to produce tangible outcomes.