The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) announced that it would immediately eliminate the direct live wire method, in which workers directly touch and work on high-voltage power lines. He also said that he would ban people from working on utility poles. KEPCO announced that the abolition of the direct live wire method was followed in 2016 after a series of electric shock accidents among workers. After the issue was raised in the parliamentary audit in 2018, he promised to repeal the public law once more.
KEPCO President Jeong Seung-il held a press conference at the KEPCO Art Center in Seocho-gu, Seoul on the afternoon of the 9th and announced ‘special measures for the eradication of safety accidents’. It has been 47 days since Kim Daun, a worker from a KEPCO subcontractor, was electrocuted from high voltage and died. On November 5, last year, while working to connect electricity to a new officetel, Kim was electrocuted by a 22,900 volt high voltage and died on the 24th of the same month.
KEPCO denies responsibility for contractors
In order to prevent electric shock, KEPCO said, “We will completely eliminate the direct live wire method and physically separate the workers from the harmful factors.” Although it has been switched to indirect live work since 2018, 30% of the work is still being implemented with the direct live method. In addition, he added that it would expand the post-power outage work and further develop an indirect live wire work method to increase the field application rate.
As a measure against the fall accident, he said, “We will completely ban workers from directly climbing on Jeonju.” In principle, insulated buckets (high-place insulated vehicles) are to be used, but if it is difficult to enter the site or the conditions for supply and demand of equipment are difficult, they will allow exceptions after reviewing and approval of safety measures in advance. Kim, who died, did not have a high-altitude insulation work vehicle, so he had to use a general truck to work.
A safety officer is assigned to each construction site, and illegal subcontracting practices are blocked at the source. A real-name system for manpower and equipment has been introduced so that the safety officer who visits the construction site checks whether there is an illegal subcontract. The late Kim Daun suffered an accident while working for a construction project to be done by another subcontractor. We plan to expand the workers’ right to stop work altogether to inappropriate work orders such as excessive work volume or independent work. The right to stop work has been granted in the past, but it has been criticized for being unpopular because workers who were concerned about disadvantages could not request it.
KEPCO denied responsibility as a ‘contractor’ on this day. President Jeong Seung-il said, “According to the current Industrial Safety and Health Act, KEPCO has the status of the orderer in the electrical works ordered by KEPCO. According to the results of the investigation by the police and the Ministry of Employment and Labor, if necessary, we will do everything we can,” he said. The Ministry of Labor is investigating “KEPCO as a contractor, not a contractor”.
Smart stick use, musculoskeletal disorders increase in industrial accidents
Official measures were announced after the accident, but it is questionable whether the distrust at the site will disappear. Moon Gil-joo, director of the Jeonnam Labor Rights and Rights Center, said, “It is positive that KEPCO has officially taken safety measures,” but said, “The right to stop work is a guaranteed right, but it cannot be used in the field. never,” he pointed out.
Lee Yong-cheol, head of the Gwangju Jeonnam Electric Power Plant of the Construction Union, said, “KEPCO headquarters always announces principled measures, but they are not applied in the field. You have to listen to your voice.” Director Lee said, “The number of fatal accidents increased while using the direct live method, so we switched to the indirect live method and used a smart stick as a tool. There are more than 50 electricity workers,” he explained. He added, “When using a smart stick, we need to check why it is uncomfortable and what needs to be improved. A smart stick is a 2-meter-long stick consisting of an insulating stick and a tip tool, and is a device that allows workers to work at a certain distance from a current flowing wire.