The Act on Punishment of Serious Accidents, etc. (Severe Accident Punishment Act) will come into effect in January next year. Companies must establish and implement a safety and health management system, such as securing the necessary manpower and budget to prevent disasters. If an employer fails to fulfill his/her duties and an accident occurs, he/she shall be punished by imprisonment for at least one year or a fine of not more than 1 billion won. Changes in the field are already detected. Companies are busy hiring safety and health management personnel to avoid becoming the No. However, there are concerns that if the voices of on-site workers are not included in the construction of the safety and health management system, it could be used only to reduce the sentence of the employer and avoid punishment rather than prevent disasters. What kind of efforts are needed for the Act on the Punishment of Serious Disasters to be effective?
“Safety and health management system, a picture on the wall of the office”
“Severe Accident Punishment Act raises safety standards for in-house contractors”
society : The Serious Accidents Punishment Act stipulates that a safety and health management system, such as manpower and budget, necessary for disaster prevention, is established in a ‘business or workplace’ that is actually controlled, operated, and managed by the employer or the person in charge of management, and measures are taken for its implementation. However, the scene is confused about what the ‘safety and health management system’ specified in the law is. what is the difference between the two concepts
Myung-sun Choi: The occupational safety and health management system referred to in the Occupational Safety and Health Act is the same concept as the organizational chart that establishes a safety management system within the company based on the employment relationship. The Occupational Safety and Health Act specifies the roles and powers of safety and health managers, safety managers, and supervisors. On the other hand, the safety and health management system referred to in the Act on the Punishment of Serious Accidents requires companies to comprehensively equip management, manpower, and budget for worker safety. There is a big difference in that (employers) have to create standards that apply to special employment workers, including subcontractors. In the case of the safety and health management system under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, it was a picture attached to the wall of the office. There are workplaces that even write the names of people with respective roles and put them on the site, but there is no guarantee that actual safety and health managers and safety management managers can exercise their roles and authority. In the end, the safety and health management system was only the documents submitted by the Ministry of Employment and Labor when the labor inspection came out, but it did not work properly in the field.
society : I wonder if any changes are felt in the field ahead of the enforcement of the Serious Disaster Punishment Act.
Lim Jae-beom: There are complaints in the field because the term safety and health management system is unfamiliar. The Ministry of Labor has created a ‘Safety and Health Management System Guidebook for the Prevention of Occupational Accidents’. It is not enough to just follow the guidelines. As a result, there is confusion in the field.
Jeong Tae-gyo: I recently went to a business site inside the Yeosu Chemical Industrial Complex. While the union did not feel the enforcement of the Act on the Punishment of Serious Accidents, I have heard many stories that the company seems to be preparing for something. In the case of Yeosu Chemical Plant, it is said that industrial safety-related education became very thorough when in-house partners or outsourced contractors came in. Because safety is emphasized on in-house contractors, it is said that after several warnings, they are told that they are taking measures such as prohibiting access to the company. In the end, it is becoming a situation where only the conditions are strengthened for in-house subcontractors and outsourced contractors that do not have safety-related systems in place. In the case of workplaces to which the Act on the Punishment of Serious Accidents is directly applied due to the large scale of the workplace, it is in the situation of securing and preparing industrial safety personnel.
Myung-sun Choi: It is said that there are no applicants even when Hyundai E&C puts out an advertisement for hiring a safety manager. From the point of view of field members, the number of safety managers continues to increase, but I don’t know what they are doing. It is heard that the number of management and control personnel increases and the worksite does not change at all.
Jeong Tae-gyo: Unfortunately, the money does not go towards reinforcing safety on site, but towards safety and health consulting. There are many on YouTube as well. Consulting companies explain the Severe Accident Punishment Act and ISO45001 (Safety and Health Management System) certification while talking about the factors for reducing the sentence. I felt that it was moving in a strange direction, not in the direction of facility expansion, education, and human resource development for safety.
Lim Jae-beom: In some cases, law firms recruit many safety and health-related retirees and ask them to consult with companies saying that they could face prison sentences in the future. Behind the scenes work is also being done to recruit people with the authority to investigate serious disasters. This is a move that is quite contrary to the purpose of the Act to prevent industrial accidents. Unions need to stop this trend.
“They say that safety is strengthened, only documents become safer”
“The primary agency, subcontractors, and special high schools should also be responsible for safety management”
society : In the case of public institutions, we started discussing changes to the safety and health management system a little earlier. how do you rate
Jo Sung-ae: The background of the ‘Guidelines for Safety Management of Public Institutions’ was the late Kim Yong-gyun, a worker. The successive occurrences from the rupture of the heat transport pipe at Baekseok Station to the derailment of the KTX Gangneung Line also had an impact. What public institutions fear the most is the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. It is very meaningful for the Ministry of Strategy and Finance to create and operate a public safety policy team. After the implementation of the guidelines, there was one evaluation according to the guidelines. Union members who have performed safety management work say that they ‘do the same thing many times.’ You should prepare for the Occupational Safety and Health Committee, prepare for safety management evaluation, and recently prepare for a major examination related to safety management of public institutions… . It’s the same job, but it’s being evaluated with a different name. In addition, safety is not guaranteed in the field, but the number of safety managers is increasing, and only the paperwork to obtain safety certification is increasing.
In addition, public institutions are required to have a safety management committee, but the representative of the safety management committee is not the CEO or plant manager. In some cases, the director in charge of safety without power or the director of production also serves concurrently. At first I thought it was well made, but looking at it, nothing has changed since it was operated very formally or replaced with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
society : What will be different when the safety and health management system is implemented?
Myung-sun Choi: The safety and health management system establishment and implementation measures are applied to both subcontractors and specially hired workers. In particular, Article 4-9 of the Enforcement Decree of the Serious Accident Punishment Act states whether the employer makes standards for management costs for safety and health when subcontracting, service, or consignment, and establishes and implements standards and procedures for construction and construction periods in the case of construction and shipbuilding. It contains the content to be seen.
The content of asking employees to listen to their opinions is also noticeably different. In the past, opinion gathering was mainly aimed at worker representatives and workers under the Labor Standards Act, which had the right to participate and the right to know. and to create a procedure. However, since the collection of opinions from employees is left to the employer, there is a high possibility that it will become a formal operation.
Article 4, No. 7 of the Enforcement Decree of the Serious Accident Punishment Act states, “A procedure for hearing the opinions of workers on matters related to safety and health of a business or workplace shall be prepared, and if it is deemed necessary for disaster prevention by hearing opinions according to the procedure, We will prepare an improvement plan and check whether it is implemented at least half a year, and then take necessary measures.”
However, the collection of workers’ opinions can be replaced with “discussing, deliberation and resolution on safety and health of a business or workplace in the Occupational Safety and Health Committee or safety and health consultative body under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.” It is at this point that the labor community is concerned. The Occupational Safety and Health Committee is to be operated by each workplace, so if an opinion for improvement is expressed, it can be implemented and reflected. none. The non-participation of workers’ opinions means that even if the company doesn’t reflect it, it doesn’t matter.
Myung-sun Choi: According to the Act on Punishment of Serious Accidents, a structure should be created to collect the opinions of subcontractors. There is a big difference depending on whether or not to continue to provide feedback on whether the opinions of workers have been implemented by creating a process for collecting opinions. If you do not create a structure for collecting opinions, the company may read the opinions all the time and just throw them in the trash, like a ‘wish box’ that says, “If there is a need for system improvement in our field, please give us your opinions.”
“Accident cannot be prevented without worker participation”
society : How the union intervenes and creates the safety and health management system seems to be a key issue.
Myung-sun Choi: Ultimately, the key to preventing accidents is how to involve workers. After giving workers time and authority to work, the Ministry of Labor must make a big decision to solve the problem that is intertwined with the subcontracted employment structure.
The Occupational Safety and Health Committee and risk assessment entered into the Serious Accident Punishment Act, but so far, the Ministry of Labor has also cut down on companies that have established the Occupational Safety and Health Committee, and has not been able to figure out the number of workplaces where the Occupational Safety and Health Committee is installed.
Jeong Tae-gyo: The union should find an appropriate time for intervention, such as risk assessment or work environment measurement. When negotiating, the company blocks union intervention by saying that it has management rights and management policies, but the safety sector is clearly different. Company safety officers need help from unions. Guaranteeing paid hours for honorary occupational safety inspectors is also a demand that unions can make.
Jo Sung-ae: The Ministry of Labor tells us to use an honorary occupational safety inspector. If we ask for time, we use the time-off first, and if not, the union tells us to agree with the employer. When asked to take advantage of one time-off, there are many workplaces that are difficult to use because safety is pushed to other issues by both the company and the union.
The Ministry of Labor’s ‘Safety and Health Management System Guidebook for Occupational Accident Prevention’ states that “safety and health activities are recognized as working hours.” It has no legal effect.”
society : How is the Occupational Safety and Health Committee currently operating? In the case of workplaces with unions, are they operating well?
Lim Jae-beom: In the case of the Occupational Safety and Health Committee, workplaces with 100 or more workers are required to operate normally, and in the case of hazardous industries, workplaces with 50 or more workers are required to operate. If there is no union or a small business, it will not operate properly. In the case of entrusting a safety manager/health manager, the commissioned institution must participate in the Occupational Safety and Health Committee, but since there are several workplaces where the safety and health manager is in charge, the vicious cycle of the Occupational Safety and Health Committee is repeated on paper.
Jo Sung-ae: In places where the Occupational Safety and Health Committee cannot be operated, a labor-management council can be substituted, and two minutes of each meeting are written at the labor-management council. It is said that he raised an agenda related to occupational safety and health to the labor-management council and formed the occupational safety and health committee. If you do not do the OSH committee, you will be punished by law. The company opposes, saying, “What if there are two people working in the department and they are honorary occupational safety inspectors?”
Myung-sun Choi: In the past, the Labor Inspectorate of the Ministry of Labor was able to supervise whether the OSH committee was operating properly according to the law. However, it was abolished in 2006 due to deregulation measures. It’s so frustrating and sad. Even hard-working unions get tired when they work for the OSH. Labor and management do not talk together to find and implement problems, but fight every time and fight over how and whether to keep the minutes of the meeting for two months, then pass the story to the next year, and these things are repeated. Even if a company does not properly participate in the Occupational Safety and Health Committee, it does not supervise even if it raises a problem with the Ministry of Labor, and in some cases, it does not impose a fine for negligence even if it does not comply with the deliberations and resolutions.
Worker participation, the most important factor in the health and safety management system, has fallen to the bottom. The Serious Accident Punishment Act can only work as a disaster prevention method when it fully guarantees union participation.
A comprehensive safety and health management system for subcontractors “It will be difficult if it stays this way”
society : The safety and health management system encompassing subcontracting is included in the Act on Punishment of Serious Accidents. What is needed to secure effectiveness?
Jeong Tae-gyo: Regarding the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Committee, there are many things that need to be addressed in the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Just because there is a trade union does not mean that everyone can participate. Only a majority union can participate. Even if unions of Samsung Group companies are formed, they cannot enter the Occupational Safety and Health Committee because the organization rate is not high. can’t even watch If there is a union, even one or two people must guarantee the right to participate, but the system in which the union cannot participate at all is also a problem. The Occupational Safety and Health Committee, which is run by the labor and management of the primary office, is also not operating properly, so it is questionable whether it will be possible to create a space to discuss safety responsibilities by including subcontractors.
In the case of the National Samsung Electronics Union, in February of this year, the labor union organized the safety and health examination of the workplace. I think it would be better to publish a diagnosis report jointly by labor and management rather than ISO, in which the union did not intervene at all, and to reflect it in the sentencing standards of the Serious Accident Punishment Act. Although the ISO·Safety and Health Management System (KOSHA-MS) puts union participation in the evaluation item, the company conducts a safety diagnosis and does not notify the union.
The workers’ members of the Occupational Safety and Health Committee may be composed of at least one honorary occupational safety inspector nominated by the workers’ representative and up to nine workers from the workplace nominated by the workers’ representative in the case of a workplace where a worker’s representative or an honorary occupational safety inspector is appointed. . In the case of a majority union at the workplace, the union can be recognized as the representative of workers and participate in the Occupational Safety and Health Committee.
Jo Sung-ae: The safety management committee is operated by subcontractors and subcontractors at public institution sites. Each workplace has 40 subcontractors. It’s hard to sit down and talk to all these people. I don’t know if the Occupational Safety and Health Committee in which the subcontractors and subcontractors participate is possible. In the case of a power plant, if the method for dividing and participating in divisions by business area is not elaborated, only documents saying “I did it” remain and operate with no efficiency. When the 1st and 2nd subcontractors talk together, the 2nd subcontractor cannot speak.
Myung-sun Choi: A safety and health management system in which subcontractors participate is very important. If you look at the list of subcontractors at Hyundai Steel’s Dangjin plant, there are about 200. I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be done with a lot. In the case of the construction industry, the number of subcontractors is large and processes are constantly changing. I don’t know if the statistics are accurate, but in the construction industry, 40% of businesses are said to have an Occupational Safety and Health Committee composed of subcontractors. Although there are many on-site companies, it is not impossible to organize because there are main companies and main occupations. The important thing is to select workers representatively.
However, there is no subcontractor safety and health committee other than the construction industry. Public institutions also operate subcontractor councils, but not the Occupational Safety and Health Committee. Form a consultative body to exchange only opinions, and the Occupational Safety and Health Committee has the right to deliberate and vote. Occupational safety and health committees should be formed as subcontractors and subcontractors to operate and supervise them.
“It is difficult to prevent disasters without resolving risk outsourcing”
society : When asked to establish a safety and health management system, he gave an earlier diagnosis that only control was strengthened. The role of trade unions is likely to be important in the future.
Lim Jae-beom: I think the primary labor union should pay more attention. Since sub-contractor unions have a low organization rate, it is imperative that the main sub-contractor unions strongly demand measures to protect sub-contractor workers.
Jo Sung-ae: It is good for a union to do this, but there are cases where the main agency and the subcontractor have different upper union organizations or different industries. Even within the same industry, members may have different opinions. Uneasy. Also, subcontractors are usually managers. In the event of an accident involving subcontractors, the focus is on the protection of union members due to the physiological nature of the union. If the social impact is large, the president (CEO) can be held responsible, but if it is not, the executives take responsibility.
I think the first thing to do is to determine the cause of the accident, and whether to punish someone is the next thing. Rather, I think that if there is no very serious responsibility or authority, the incident (the structural cause of the incident) can be revealed only if it is not punished. When there was an earthquake in Gyeongju in 2016, subcontractors died while working on the track. It was because the earthquake or the train was delayed, but I was not informed of that fact. The authority to allow access to the track rests with Korea Railroad Corporation. In order to properly identify the structural cause, I don’t think it is necessary to presuppose someone’s punishment.
Lim Jae-beom: In the end, it seems most important to broadly ban the outsourcing of risky work. There is no company that will not do so in a structure that costs less money and places responsibility on subcontractors in the event of an accident.
society : It seems necessary to carefully review the establishment of the safety and health management system and make subcontracting more burdensome. Lastly, is there anything else you would like to say?
Jo Sung-ae: In the end, I think that how to create a system in which field workers can participate will be the key to establishing the Severe Accident Punishment Act. In addition, when a disaster occurs, there are too many steps from finding the human factor first to punishing the employer. When a disaster occurs, news comes out that working-level workers or field managers have been arrested and arrested, but it is not easy to hold the president accountable beyond this stage. If you look at the safety and health textbook, you will find an inverted pyramid containing the most basic ‘removal, replacement, and control measures for each risk factor’. First, we remove the risk factors, then go to engineering control, administrative education, and finally, human factors. But the reality is the opposite. When an accident occurs, the human factor such as whether the individual used protective equipment is first searched for. As shown in the textbook, business owners can be punished only by first finding the cause of the disaster and removing the risk factors.
Jeong Tae-gyo: Punishment of the Serious Accident Punishment Act Employer No. 1 is likely to become the principal of a subcontractor due to an accident involving a subcontractor. In the end, outsourcing of risk is the biggest problem. In all workplaces, the main office has the right to manage key information and facilities, but outsourced workers do dangerous work. Signals should be given so that Woncheong can continue to move preemptively. After the Act on Punishment of Serious Accidents is enforced, the law must be strictly applied to be effective.
Lim Jae-beom: The Serious Accident Punishment Act is intended to prevent serious accidents. Although Article 4 of the Enforcement Decree of the Serious Accidents Punishment Act lacks risk assessment and the Occupational Safety and Health Committee for preventing industrial accidents, there are systems in place in which workers can participate for safety and health, so it is hoped that the system will run smoothly.