By June Kang
Korea’s amendment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA or Industrial Safety and Health Act (ISHA)) was published on June 12, 2013 and will become effective on March 13, 2014 as Act No 11882. The Act was mainly designed to protect workers and employees from exposure to harmful chemicals and accidents caused by hazardous chemicals at the workplace. In order to administer the law, the amendment endorses authority to the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) to order corrective actions regarding chemical management at workplaces and to order other requirements for the facilities.
When chemical substances that have the potential to cause cancer and other serious health consequences in workers are manufactured or imported, MOEL can order the manufacturers or importers to conduct toxicity and risk assessments and submit the reports. After reviewing the submitted toxicity and risk analysis reports, MOEL can order necessary corrective actions to prevent workers from chemical and health hazards in the workplace.
Under the current regulations, the government does not have the authority to require toxicity and risk analysis data of existing chemical substances. However, along with the implementation of The Act on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (K-REACH) by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) that will become effective in January 2015, MOEL will soon be able to enforce the industry to conduct safety measure when chemical substances or products are used at the workplace.
One of the reinforced rules is that companies contracting out cleaning, repair and/or renovation work involving toxic substances are required to inform contractors of not only the dangers involved in the task but also necessary precautions and emergency procedures. Record keeping requirements will be extended from 2 years to 3 years.
For those who fail to comply with the law, penalties and fines will be imposed, depending on the case.
[MOEL News] Far greater responsibility to be imposed on companies contracting out harmful or hazardous work (Ministry of Employment and Labor news release on June 21, 2013)
산업안전보건법 [ 일부개정 2013.6.12 법률 제11882호 시행일 2014.3.13 ], Amendment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, No 11882 published on June 12, 2013 and effective on March 13, 2014