Surge in shipyard deaths sparks urgent calls for action

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Police and firefighters inspect the yard of Kumkang Heavy Industries in Goseong County, South Gyeongsang Province, where two workers died from a fall off of a 123 ton structure, in this May 9 file photo. Courtesy of Gyeongsangnam-do Fire Department

Calls are growing for fundamental measures to be implemented to prevent the recurrence of fatal industrial accidents at shipyards, as worker deaths have increased rapidly this year amid soaring shipbuilding orders in recent years, according to industry officials, Friday.As of Friday, reports indicated that at least 13 shipyard workers lost their lives in nine industrial accidents this year. In comparison, during the first five months of the previous year, it was reported that three shipyard workers died while at work.Among the nine deaths reported this year, several accidents occurred at the shipyards of Korea’s three largest shipbuilders — HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, and Hanwha Ocean — rather than solely at small- and medium-sized shipyards.

In response, the Ministry of Employment and Labor said Wednesday that it took a series of measures to make domestic shipyards safer.“We plan to meet the owners of small- and medium-sized shipyards on May 21 and 23, offering emergency safety education for them until the end of this month,” the ministry said in a press release. “In addition, we will carry out a thorough inspection of shipbuilders on May 22.”Between February and March, the ministry carried out a special labor inspection of Hanwha Ocean, as two fatal industrial accidents occurred at its shipyard within just two weeks in January. The shipbuilder is facing a fine, due to safety violations 슬롯게이밍 uncovered during the inspection.

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