Metro worker crushed by train

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Metro worker crushed by train

A 20-year-old maintenance worker died Saturday at Guui Station in eastern Seoul when he got stuck between the screen door and an incoming train while repairing the door.

The victim, surnamed Kim, was an employee of a subcontracted maintenance company for Seoul Metro, a public corporation that operates Seoul subway lines No. 1 through 4. He was hit by the arriving train at about 5:57 p.m. while working on the screen door that was malfunctioning. Kim had been working for the company for seven months and was repairing the door by himself, a violation of the safety guidelines.

Seoul Metro did not know Kim’s whereabouts at the time of the accident and failed to halt the train.

“The victim made no report about his work, nor did he fill out a work log,” said a Seoul Metro spokesperson after the event. It was later discovered that although Kim visited the station office prior to the incident in order to get the key for the screen door, no one asked where he was going with it.

A similar case occurred in August 2015, when a 28-year-old maintenance worker died at Gangnam Station after getting stuck between the screen doors and the train. The victim was also working alone at the time.

Working alone on screen doors became a violation of safety guidelines after an inspector was killed in January 2013 at Seongsu Station while doing a check on screen door sensors. Since then, safety guidelines mandate two workers be together at all times when repairing screen doors. Workers are supposed to only work on the outside of doors during subway operation hours and report to the station before working inside the doors.

After the deaths in 2013 and 2015, Seoul Metro implemented new measures to prevent further accidents involving screen doors. The police are investigating whether Seoul Metro has carried out proper training and management of its subcontractors.

Seoul Metro announced after Saturday’s accident that it will start a subsidiary company to oversee maintenance rather than outsourcing the work, as it does now. “We will establish a subsidiary company in charge of maintenance by August,” said Jung-soo-young, head of the Safety Management Headquarters of Seoul Metro. “We will also bolster the safety management system through various steps such as improving screen door sensors by the end of the year.”

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]

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