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Companies brace for new industrial safety law

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

With the nation’s new industrial safety law taking effect Thursday, companies across industries are bolstering their safety management systems to avoid being the first punished under the enhanced rules. 

Under the Serious Accident Punishment Act, business owners or executives at companies with more than 50 employees could face a criminal penalty of a minimum one-year prison term or fines of up to 1 billion won ($835,000) for fatal industrial accidents under circumstances where safety measures are deemed insufficient.

According to Hyundai Motor Group, the company will expand the support for safety management systems at subcontractors in the construction and steelmaking industry. 

As part of the effort, the group will inject some 87 billion won this year, double that of last year, to increase workforce, expand safety infrastructure and conduct safety inspections, related consulting and education for workers on site. 

The group said such support would lessen the burden for smaller partner companies in managing safety systems and creating a safer workplace culture. 

Separately, the group’s construction arms Hyundai C&T and Hyundai Engineering will inject 42 billion won to strengthen subcontractors’ safety management systems. 

Hyundai C&T said it will set aside separate labor costs for partner firms conducting high-risk on-site projects, such as for firms that set up construction materials including a steel frame. 

The company will continue to support on-site workers through smart safety devices such as image recognition systems to prevent construction workers from being involved in serious accidents.

Hyundai Engineering will increase the number of surveillance cameras installed at the workplace to monitor sites around the clock. All safety managers at construction sites will wear attachable cameras. 

Hyundai Steel has pledged 45 billion won for subcontractors to expand their workforce by 1.5 times for increased safety management. 

The company said partner firms for construction projects will receive 50 percent more than the legally regulated safety management costs to strengthen safety systems. 

Wearable cameras and portable alert sensor devices will be given to on-site workers. Additional costs will be given to attach rear-view sensors and peripheral sensors to forklifts, the company said.

Additionally, the company has newly appointed a vice president to lead the safety control tower for timely decision-making and efficient management for safety. 

Posco International said it has achieved the ISO 45001 certification in an industry first, in recognition of its full compliance with the international standard for occupational health and safety.

The company said it would continue to strengthen the safety management system by putting safety and health at the core of the group’s business. 

In August, the company set up an organization inside the company in charge of safety and health.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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