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'Only 30% of companies can cope with Serious Accidents Punishment Act'

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HDC Hyundai Development Company's collapsed apartment complex in Gwangju South Jeolla Province, which claimed nine lives in January due to lax safety measures. Yonhap
HDC Hyundai Development Company's collapsed apartment complex in Gwangju South Jeolla Province, which claimed nine lives in January due to lax safety measures. Yonhap

By Kim Hyun-bin

Only 30 percent of companies are capable of dealing with the recently implemented Serious Accidents Punishment Act, a recent survey shows.

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) released the result of the survey marking the 100 days of enforcement of the law, Sunday. In the survey conducted on 930 companies with five or more employees, 30.7 percent of the companies understood the contents of the Act, while 68.7 percent did not comprehend the law.

"The biggest problem is that the law is not clear and it is impossible for companies to know to what extent they have to prepare," Yoo Il-ho, head of the employment and labor policy team at the KCCI said. "It is urgent to revise the laws, such as presenting clear obligations for the prevention of practical serious accidents."

Most companies or 80.2 percent answered that "enforcement of the Serious Accidents Punishment Act is a management burden."

It was also found that the gap between large companies and SMEs was significant regarding safety management systems. Among the companies that responded, 31.6 percent have allocated personnel for safety and health work. While 86.7 percent of large enterprises with 300 or more employees had a dedicated safety workforce, only 35.8 percent of medium-sized enterprises (50-299 employees) and 14.4 percent of small businesses (5-49 employees) maintained safety disaster personnel.

Regarding the establishment of a safety disaster department, 88.6 percent of large enterprises organized a dedicated department, while 54.6 percent of medium-sized enterprises and 26.0 percent of small enterprises have established them, respectively.

"Unless special measures are taken against small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with poor safety and health management capabilities, the side effects of the law will be much more serious than expected," a KCCI official said.
Kim Hyun-bin hyunbin@koreatimes.co.kr


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