NEWS Fatal industrial accidents on the rise despite workplace safety laws

Fatal industrial accidents increase despite workplace safety law

SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap News Agency) — Despite a landmark workplace safety law that was implemented about a year ago, the number of deaths caused by serious industrial accidents at workplaces subject to the law increased last year, a government report showed on Thursday. Worker fatalities have increased.

The Serious Accident Penalty Act came into effect on January 27 last year to penalize employers and chief executives accused of failing in their duty to prevent fatal accidents.

Under the law, the owner or CEO of a company with 50 or more employees can be fined at least a year in prison or up to 1 billion won ($810,000) if a fatal on-the-job disaster is caused by lax workplace safety measures. ) penalty.

This file photo from Yonhap News TV depicts industrial safety. (Photo not for sale) (Yonhap News Agency)

According to the Labor Ministry report, 644 workers will die in 611 major industrial accidents in 2022, a drop of 5.7 percent, or 39, from the previous year’s 683 worker fatalities on the job.

But the report found that on-the-job deaths from serious industrial accidents in workplaces subject to the law rose by 3.2 per cent, or eight, from 248 of 234 cases in 2021 to 230 in 2022. 256 people.

It added that worker fatalities in workplaces employing fewer than 50 people fell by 10.8 per cent, or 47, from 435 to 388 in 2021-22.

The rise in fatal industrial accidents at companies regulated by the workplace safety law, which was designed to reduce worker fatalities, appears to have raised questions about its effectiveness.

The report noted that the number of fatalities due to large-scale fires and other accidents involving two or more deaths rose 77.3% year-on-year to 39 last year.

Last year, the workplace safety law was applied to 229 industrial accidents, of which the labor ministry referred 34 to prosecutors for prosecution. Another 18 cases were closed and the remaining 177 cases are still under investigation.

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