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Korea Times

Korea transfers occupational safety and health knowhow

The country will continue to play host to safety training workshops for developing countries

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 1:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 1:51pm

By Kim Bo-eun

In the 1980s and 1990s, Korea was a recipient of technology transfers and training about occupational safety and health from Germany.

As part of official development aid (ODA), 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.

Now, 30 years later, Korea is providing the same service to developing countries.

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.

This week, it hosted a week-long programme at its training centre in Ulsan for labour supervisors from Mongolia’s General Agency for Specialized 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 programme also included a course on managing chemicals and a visit to a construction site.

“As the participants are supervisors overseeing occupational safety at workplaces, they found lectures on risk assessment helpful,” said Erdenesukh Nergui, head of external cooperation and public relations at GASI.

“We will reflect on the content we learned when revising the law, provide lectures on the same content and also draw up safety booklets when we go back.”

The industrial health law in Mongolia was established in 2008 and the country is currently working on improving it.

“Managing chemicals is also a crucial sector to be improved in Mongolia,” said Jargal Nomindari of the National Reference Laboratory of Food Safety.

“Based on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), we will revise areas which need improvement at the laboratory, concerning the toxicity of chemicals.”

Meanwhile, KOSHA is discussing the establishment of a training institute in Mongolia.

In July, 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, head of public relations at KOSHA.