The Act on Punishment of Serious Accidents, etc. (Severe Accident Punishment Act) will come into effect on the 27th of this month. On the 20th, with one week left until the law’s enforcement date, the government announced that it had finally checked the preparations at a state affairs inspection and coordination meeting presided over by the Prime Minister. According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor, 9,000 manufacturing sites and 12,000 construction sites have completed or are in the process of self-inspection through the voluntary inspection table provided by the government.
Deputy Minister of Labor Park Hwa-jin, who held a press briefing at the Seoul Government Complex this morning, said, “There have been many voices over the past year about the serious disaster punishment law, but the Gwangju apartment collapse shows that our society’s safety culture and disaster prevention system are not yet sufficient.” It is time to focus on prevention rather than worrying about punishment according to the Disaster Punishment Act.” Vice Minister Park said, “Even if a serious accident occurs, there will be no punishment if the duty to secure safety and health is faithfully fulfilled. will,” he emphasized.
When the law goes into effect, the Ministry of Labor has the primary authority to investigate serious industrial accidents. Accordingly, the Ministry of Labor also foreshadowed a change in the investigation method. Vice Minister Park said, “It will not be easy to ascertain whether the person in charge of management is responsible for the accident. He said, “The Serious Disaster Punishment Act is a law that requires autonomous safety and health management from business managers rather than statutory standards. We are negotiating,” he explained. It also added that the focus of the investigation will be on whether the management person paid attention to and inspected the identification and improvement of risk factors to ensure safety and health.
At the briefing on the same day, he also emphasized the government’s will to promote the enactment of a special law on construction safety. Vice Minister Park said, “I will actively support the enactment of a special law if it is discussed at the National Assembly’s Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee.”