|Members of the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU) hold a press conference in front of the Ministry of Employment and Labor's Changwon branch in South Gyeongsang Province, Thursday, to urge the authorities to punish managers responsible for fatal industrial accidents at Hyundai BNG Steel. Courtesy of KMWU|
By Park Jae-hyuk
Calls are growing for a thorough investigation into repeated fatal industrial accidents at Hyundai BNG Steel and for stern measures against people who are responsible for the accidents.
The Korean Metal Workers' Union asked the labor authorities, Thursday, to punish the stainless steel manufacturer's supervisors who are responsible for Tuesday's accident at its factory in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, which killed a 58-year-old worker and injured another 56-year-old worker.
"Over the past nine months after two fatal industrial accidents happened at Hyundai BNG Steel last September and October, the labor ministry has neither carried out a special labor inspection nor punished the company supervisors," the union said. "The ministry's lukewarm response eventually caused the death of another worker."
The union claimed that management refused to improve outdated facilities and reinforce workers, even after the previous accidents occurred last year.
"Because worn-out bolt holes prompted screws to fall out, a 300-kilogram guide table fell onto the victims," the union said.
The minor opposition Justice Party also issued a statement Wednesday pointing out that the factory workers are subject to dangerous labor conditions, despite the implementation of the Serious Accidents Punishment Act in January last year.
The law can send a company's CEO to jail if a serious worksite accident occurs where the company has not taken sufficient safety precautions.
Hyundai BNG Steel is subject to the law, because its number of employees exceeds 400.
The company has remained cautious about commenting on the recent accident, as investigations are underway to determine the cause.
The labor ministry ordered Hyundai BNG Steel to suspend its operation to investigate whether it violated the law. The ministry is considering carrying out a special labor inspection of the stainless steel producer.
The police are also checking whether the company and its workers followed safety rules.