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Lee K.,Yonsei University | Kwon H.-M.,Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency KOSHA | Cho S.,Yonsei University | Kim J.,Incheon National University | Moon I.,Yonsei University
Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries | Year: 2015

This study addresses the systematic changes in laws, regulations, business cultures, and accident responses of organizations on a national level for chemical safety management after a large chemical release accident. The hydrogen fluoride leakage accident in Gu-mi City, in which 5 workers were killed and 18 were injured, has led the government to construct more practical plans and guidelines for managing and responding to chemical disasters. The governmental reorganization against chemical accidents such as Joint inter-agency The Chemical Emergency Preparedness Center, which is a specialized agency focused on responding to chemical disasters, has also contributed to the technology used in responses to chemical accidents, and as a result, it has become possible to cope with disasters more efficiently through cooperation among relevant agencies. Regarding relevant laws and regulations, the government has launched and clarified various acts and programs for the handling, management, and assessment of chemical substances and chemical-related accidents. Moreover, private enterprises have been also making efforts to systematically manage safety issues and expand high-level safety culture. In this paper, we discuss the changes in approaches to handle chemical accidents from various perspectives and present a case in which the relevant agencies succeeded in responding relatively efficiently to a major chemical accident because of these changes. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Kim E.-A.,Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency KOSHA | Nakata M.,Kanazawa Medical University
Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2014

Objectives: Work related Musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) is one of the most important problem in occupational health system of Korea and Japan, where the OHS system developed in similar socio-cultural environment. This study compared WMSD in Korea and Japan to review similarities and differences in their historical background, and development of prevention policies.Methods: Scientific articles, government reports, and related official and non-official statistics on WMSD since the 1960s in Japan and Korea were reviewed.Results: The historical background and basic structure of the compensation system in Korea and Japan largely overlapped. The issuing of WMSD in both countries appeared as upper limb disorder (ULD), named occupational cervicobrachial diseases (OCD) in Japan, and neck-shoulder-arm syndrome (NSA) 30 years later in Korea, following the change from an industrial structure to automated office work. Both countries developed manuals for diagnosis, guidelines for workplace management, and prevention policies. At present, compensation cases per covered insurers for WMSD are higher in Korea than in Japan, due to the social welfare system and cultural environment. Prevention policies in Korea are enforced more strongly with punitive measures than in Japan. In contrast, the Japanese system requires autonomous effort toward risk control and management, focusing on specific risky processes.Conclusions: WMSD in Korea and Japan have a similar history of identification and compensation structure, yet different compensation proportions per covered insurer and prevention policies. Follow-up study with international cooperation is necessary to improve both systems. © 2014 Kim and Nakata; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Kang S.-K.,Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency KOSHA
Industrial Health | Year: 2012

From the 1970s to 2000, the occupational accident rate in Korea showed a continuous decline. However, the rate has remained stagnant since 2000 even when the fatal injury rate has decreased 40% from that year. Injuries caused by being caught in objects have decreased while those caused by slips and falls on same level and falls from the height have increased. In 2010, the non-fatal injury rate per 100 employees was 0.63 while the fatal injury rate per 100,000 employees was 9.74. The construction industry accounted for 40.2% of all fatal injuries, and falls from the height caused 54.3% of the fatality. Musculoskeletal diseases accounted for 78.8% of the nonfatal occupational diseases while cardio-cerebrovascular diseases and pneumoconiosis are the two major fatal occupational diseases. Occupational diseases caused by chemical agents have decreased to 0.6% of all cases. However, there were several social disputes related to occupational diseases caused by low level of chemicals such as leukemia in a semiconductor company. Korea planned to reduce the fatal injury rate and total workday loss by 30% by 2015. In order to achieve this goal, the government will focus on vulnerable groups in collaboration with allies such as professional associations or organizations. © 2012 National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

Kwon O.-J.,Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency KOSHA | Kim Y.-S.,Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency KOSHA
Safety Science | Year: 2013

In Korea, the safety climate of working environments is a crucial aspect of the issue of establishing an industrial accident-prevention policy. However, there have been insufficient studies on safety climate in South Korean working environments. The purpose of this study is to examine the safety climate factors that influence a safe working environment using a South Korean sample. A total of 500 surveys targeting manufacturing industry employees were conducted, and 131 valid samples were used for evaluation. Safety knowledge, safety compliance, safety motivation, and safe working environment were established as the main factors affecting safety climate awareness, and structural equation modeling was performed to confirm significant relationships. Out of eight hypotheses, three were rejected, and safety knowledge and safety motivation were shown to have no statistically significant effect on the safeness of the work environment. This result reflects the limitations of South Korea's government-led Occupational Safety and Health training and promotion programs and of systematic knowledge transfer and the encouragement of participation. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Park J.,Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency KOSHA | Shin K.-S.,Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency KOSHA | Kim Y.,University of Ulsan
Journal of Korean Medical Science | Year: 2010

The purpose of this study was to review occupational reproductive abnormalities and occupational bladder cancer in Korea and to discuss their toxicological implications. Reproductive dysfunction as a result of 2-bromopropane poisoning was first reported in Korean workers. In 1995, 23 of the 33 workers (25 female and 8 male workers) who were exposed to 2-bromopropane during the assembly of tactile switch parts developed reproductive and/or hematopoietic disorders. A total of 17 (68%) workers were diagnosed with ovarian failure. Two of the eight male workers experienced azoospermia and four workers experienced some degree of oligospermia or reduced sperm motility. In summary, 2-bromopropane poisoning caused severe reproductive effects in Korean workers. The prognosis was poor for reproductive dysfunction. A few cases of occupational bladder cancer have been reported in Korea, whereas other cancers of the urinary tract have not been reported after occupational exposure. A few cases of benzidine-induced cancer have been reported in Korea and 592 workers in Japan have received compensation for benzidine and β-naphthylamine-induced cancer. In conclusion, a few cases of benzidineinduced occupational bladder cancer have been reported in Korea. However, benzidineinduced bladder cancer will likely be an important occupational health issue in Korea in the coming years. © 2010 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.

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