KOREA: Workplace safety and health ‘knowhow’ provided

Having received technology transfers and training about occupational safety and health from Germany in the 1980s and 1990s, Korea is now providing the same service to developing countries some 30 years later.

As part of official development aid, Germany sent officials to Korea to help establish a law that would provide technological, organisational and legal standards to promote safety at industrial worksites. Korean labour officials also visited Germany for on-site training.

Korea drew up its first occupational safety and health act in 1981, which underwent total revision, with the help of foreign assistance, in 1990.

Established in 1987, the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA) has been hosting safety training workshops for developing countries since 2004.

4. Korean H&S lectures

Supervisors from Mongolia attend a lecture on OSH statistics at the training institute of the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA) in Ulsan. (Pic: courtesy of KOSHA)

It recently hosted a week-long programme at its training centre for labour supervisors from Mongolia’s General Agency for Specialised Inspection (GASI) — an annual event which has taken place for over a decade.

It covered methodologies of investigating and analysing industrial accidents and how to draw up related statistics as well as risk assessment. The program also included a course on managing chemicals and a visit to a construction site.

The industrial health law in Mongolia was established in 2008 and the country is currently working on improving it. KOSHA is discussing the establishment of a training institute in Mongolia.

In July 2016 with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), it built one in Vietnam, also a country KOSHA has closely assisted in safety training.

“Although Korea still has room for improvement on occupational safety and health, we are providing what we were provided by countries such as Germany when we were in the early stages of developing our system,” said Chun Sang-heon, KOSHA’s head of PR.