HHI vows to invest in better safety measures

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HHI vows to invest in better safety measures

Hyundai Heavy Industries has called for its corporate safety plans to be rebooted as Korea’s largest shipbuilder intends to inject 300 billion won ($293 million) to prevent accidents on work sites.

HHI said yesterday that Chairman Lee Jae-sung and 20 other CEOs of its affiliates had a meeting Monday to improve safety at the shipbuilding conglomerate.

“We will completely reexamine the situation of our safety management,” Lee said at the meeting. “Our very first priority is to make work sites that have no accident.”

HHI has suffered a series of accidents in recent months. From March 6 to April 28, seven cases of accidents were reported in which eight workers died and four were injured. All of the workers killed were from HHI’s suppliers. They died in fires, by drowning and in falls.

The group issued a public apology on April 29 and promised to upgrade its safety measures.

After two workers died in a fire at HHI’s shipyard in Ulsan on April 21, the Ministry of Employment and Labor conducted a special safety audit.

The Ulsan office of the ministry said yesterday it found a total of 562 safety violations at HHI work sites and fined the company 1 billion won for 83 violations. The office also advised the company’s 234 safety agents to get more training. Only 35 percent of them had industrial safety licenses.

To correct the problems, HHI said that it will inject 300 billion won to upgrade safety measures and accept another special inspection by the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency this month.

The shipbuilder said it had reorganized the safety team of each operational headquarters to give them more autonomy and power.

Since most of accidents involved its suppliers, HHI said that it would double the number of safety agents assigned to its suppliers to 200.

BY joo kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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