The economic growth has increased
the quality of life in South Korea, but industrial accidents have been on the rise with its
industrialization and increase in the number of employees. The Occupational
Safety and Health Act plays a pivotal role in
ensuring workers’ rights and guaranting a safe workplace as a special act and administrative criminal law.
However, various problems have still exist. Compared to the increase in the number of workers, industrial
accidents have continuously arisen not just occupational accidents but also occupational disease (or
illness) and fatality, which shows a different pattern by a different business.
Recently, a series of industrial
accidents have occurred due to a lack of safety measures such as the explosion of a manufactural factory of Daelim
in Yeosu in 2013, chlorine gas leakage of SK Hynix in Cheongju, hydrofluoric gas leakage of national
industrial complex in Gumi, the explosion of STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd in Changwon.
- Measures to address structural and
practical problems have been made to prevent industrial accidents. However, fast economic growth and
scientific development have increased risk factors.
- A weak awareness of business owners
and representative directors on working environment and safe measures is one of the major factors
that contribute to industrial accidents.
- Regarding the criminal punishment
on business owners, there are no other severe steps except for a fine of penal provisions and/ or a
punishment of industrial involuntary manslaughter offence. It is urgent to set institutional measures to promote awareness of
representative directors and business owners.
Ⅱ. The Problems of Criminal Responsibility of
Representative Directors and Business Owners
In case where owners have failed to
do their duties as prescribe in the Occupational Safety and Health Act and caused fatalities and injuries,
they can be punishable as guarantors pursuant to Article 268 Death and Injury by Occupational or Gross
- Due to the difficulties to find
the links of representative directors to industrial accidents, it is common that on-site directors and/or plant
managers have been punished under the name of Death and Injury by Occupational or Gross Negligence on
behalf of representative directors.
- Furthermore, there is a limitation
in applying Article 66-2 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, an aggravated punishment on business
owners. It is primary to take a preemptive action to prevent any victims apart from the punishment on offenders.
Ⅲ. Introduction of Attendance Centre Order to Occupational
Safety and Health Act
- Despite illegal immigration, if
he/she falls victim to crimes, he or she is in a position of delivering
testimony while living in Korea. Thus, it is urgent to prevent and protect foreign victims of crime.
Newly-Established Attendance Centre Order under Occupational Safety and Health
- It can be examined to
make Attendance Centre Order, if imprisonment has been ruled by the court, a similar procedure to Act
on Special Cases Concerning the punishment, etc. of sexual crimes and Act on
the Protection of Children
and Juveniles against Sex Offenses. Furthermore, it needs to be reviewed to
classify criminal cases to impose
mandatory and/or optional Orders.
- It can be examined to
make Attendance Centre Order, if probation has been rules by the court instead of imprisonment. In case
of probation, it can be classified as criminal cases to impose optional Orders based on Act on Special
Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. Crimes of Domestic Violence and Act on the Punishment of
Arrangement of Commercial Sex Acts, etc., and put on mandatory Orders based-on Juvenile Act.
Target and Applied Areas of Attendance Centre Order under Occupational Safety
and Health Act
In principle, the
Attendance Centre Order shall be enforced on all of the criminal offenders,
thus, it needs to be narrowed down to
decide the targeted population.
- The 1st plan is the person to
violate all of the regulations mentioned in Occupational Safety and Health Act.
- The 2nd plan is the person to
cause workers fatalities by violating Article 23 (Safety Measures) and Article
24 (Health Measures), which are against the
purpose of Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Article 62-2 of the
Criminal Act stipulates that ‘Attendance Centre Order’ shall be executed within the period of suspension of
execution of sentence, but in reality, the Orders have made by other special
acts. It is effective to newly
establish Attendance Centre Order under Occupational Safety and Health Act for systematic and