Workplace safety measures bolstered in South Korea as new law takes effect
As South Korea’s new workplace disaster law took into effect last week, companies countrywide have had to bolster their safety management measures for their workers.
Under the new regulation, business owners and CEOs would face harsher sentences of a minimum one-year prison sentence or up to 1 billion won (US$855,000) in fines in the event of fatal workplace accidents and where safety measures are deemed insufficient.
Some major construction firms shut down their work sites on the day the new law took effect, with plans to keep the sites closed until the following weekend amid efforts to boost their safety procedures, according to Yonhap News.
The new legislation has received criticism from pundits, who say that the provisions are ambiguous. Smaller firms, which account for the majority of employment, also lack the capacity to implement systems to ensure strict adherence to the law, and to cover the potential legal fees that could be incurred.
A survey held by the Korea Enterprises Federation last year revealed that some 29.2% of foreign investment companies of over 300 employees felt most uneasy about the introduction of the workplace disaster law.