Steelmaker strengthens plant safety

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Steelmaker strengthens plant safety

Hyundai Steel, nation’s second-largest steelmaker, yesterday announced new safety measures in the wake of four accidents that killed eight persons at its plant in Dangjin, South Chungcheong, this year.

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo visited the affiliate’s Dangjin plant on Nov. 23 to check the facility, but more fatal accidents have occurred since. Most recently, a construction worker, checking the roof of Hyundai Steel’s iron bar factory was killed after falling Monday.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor already ordered a halt to power plant furnace construction at Hyundai Green Power, a generating company inside Hyundai Steel’s Dangjin plant, and will take over supervision of the work.

“We are deeply sorry for the serious accidents that happened at Dangjin plant and our condolences go to the families,” the company said in a statement. “We accept Ministry of Employment and Labor’s decision to specially manage the Hyundai plant as worksite safety is at risk, and we will execute a safety plan that includes our suppliers and related companies.”

Hyundai Steel said it will first create a “safety management countermeasure committee,” involving suppliers, to efficiently run the safety system within the company.

The company said it will invest 120 billion won ($113 million) and increase the number of safety officers. Currently, Hyundai Steel employs 74 safety officers with an additional 26 coming from outside the company, and it plans to add at least 50 more.

The steelmaker said it will form teams for each safety category and establish a gas safety center. Among the eight victims at the Dangjin plant, six died because of gas leaks.

Hyundai Steel also said it will contract with a top inspection company to conduct special safety checks on all gas-related facilities.

The affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group will also revise its safety management manual and will open its safety computerized system to construction companies and suppliers.

To enhance the safety culture at the company, Hyundai Steel will also require all employees to attend a safety management class.

“With our thorough self-reflection, we will try to execute the plan and fundamentally reform company safety,” the company said.

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