Yesterday (20th) morning at POSCO Pohang Works, a worker from a subcontractor in his 40s was caught in heavy equipment and died.

( ▶Go to the related article) Just before the accident, Mr. A was working with 6 colleagues to keep the steam piping warm, but he got caught in an accident where he was caught by a charging vehicle carrying raw materials to the furnace.

Shortly after the accident, colleagues found him and transported him to the hospital, but he died.

Mr. A was a new employee who had only been in the company for about a month.

It's been a week since I joined...

Entrust safety management work

At the time of the accident, there were 7 people working together, including Mr. A.

The problem is that Mr. A, who has just left for work, has been entrusted with safety-related tasks that require skill.

In February and March of last year, at the POSCO Pohang Works, an employee of a subcontractor got caught in a machine and died.

In the wake of a series of industrial accidents, POSCO had the prime contractor and subcontractors appoint a 'safety keeper' who oversees the safety management role, but this time, the employee in charge of safety management suffered an accident.

To the extent that our promise to put safety as our top priority is tarnished, serious industrial accidents continue to occur at POSCO.

POSCO Chairman Choi Jung-woo also bowed his head several times.

However, only after Chairman Choi took office in July 2018, 10 workers went to work and never returned home.

Moreover, one week before the implementation of the Serious Disaster Act, another subcontractor died.

"Safety first"...

still the shadow of death

It's not that the company isn't trying, but some point out that safety measures are creating blind spots.

The safety device acts as a breakwater to prevent a major accident even if a human error occurs.

Likewise, no matter how good safety equipment is, if it is not helpful in the field, it is useless.

The same is true of the 'safeguard' and 'two people, one group' guidelines.

The company's safety measures should be 'blindfolded', avoiding punishment and focusing on protecting the precious lives of on-site workers rather than negligence.

As one power plant contingent worker said:

"It's over after installing the safety fence without considering how the site works. It has to be installed in a way that makes work possible. For example, the inside of a power plant is dangerous, so install a safety fence. When something falls, we have to go in and clean it up. Then we should be able to easily manipulate and remove the safety fence so that workers can enter, but it completely blocks it, so we tear it apart and install it again. It is difficult and takes more time. It's hard to argue anymore because they said they took action. It's hard to ask them to do it right away because they say they'll think about it even if they ask for it many times."

/ Power plant irregular worker Mr. B

"My dream is to get home safely from work"

Even the structure in which the risk is mostly focused on subcontractors is difficult to change with tinkering safety measures if the fundamental problem is not addressed.

Although Woncheong is also responsible for safety, safety accidents are inevitable in the loop of outsourcing to reduce costs.

It is not just that the subcontractors take on risky work and demand that they take good care of safety, but that the main contractor should minimize the outsourcing of risky work as much as possible and directly manage and supervise it.

The enforcement of the Severe Disaster Act is now six days away.

After the law goes into effect, news is heard that companies are clamoring to avoid the first punishment.

However, what we should fear more than punishment is the voices of workers who worry about 'alive and leave work' every day.

The right not to die while working should be taken for granted by everyone.