Ministry of Employment and Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Act and its enforcement decree
- According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the owner of any business employing more than 100 employees shall designate a person in general charge of health and safety, and such a person in a year shall attend a new education course (more than 6 hours) and undergo supplementary education course (more than 6 hours).
* Related educational organizations: Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Korea Industrial Safety Association, Korea Construction Safety Association, etc.
* Course method: Online course or offline group course
* Penalty in times of violation: Non-designation and non-completion of education courses will be subject to a fine not exceeding KRW 5 million.
- However, many foreign-invested companies in Korea have no choice but to hire a foreigner as the person in general charge of health and safety and all the courses are operated in Korean. Consequently, medium-sized foreign-invested companies experience grievances such as sending Korean executives to attend the education courses on behalf of the foreigner in general charge of health and safety.
Resoultion and Results
- The Office of Foreign Investment Ombudsman (OFIO) explained the situation as described above and asked the authorities to fill the loopholes in the system and suggested two alternatives.
Alternative 1: When a foreigner is designated as the person in general charge of health and safety (general safety manager) and the person cannot perform the legal duty of completing education courses, the system should be complemented to allow to designate a Korean in substitute for the general safety manager on the condition that the consent of the delegated person and delegation of authority of the general safety manager have been obtained.
Alternative 2: If it is unavoidable to designate a foreigner as the general safety manager when there are no Korean employees in the company, and even if the demand for courses in foreign language is only a few, the education course in foreign language for the general safety managers should be created. As for the local provinces, the reality is that foreign-invested companies are sparsely diffused throughout multiple districts. If the offline group courses are economically non-feasible, it is recommended that the courses are replaced with online courses.
- Opinion of the competent ministry: As for the alternative 1, even if the case is on the premise that the consent of the delegated person has been obtained, the authenticity of the consent of an employee can be brought into question. Moreover, allowing an employee to substitute for the general safety manager runs counter to the original aim of the regulation. As for the alternative 2, the competent ministry fully recognizes the issue and is willing to review the matter actively. Due to the budget, actual implementation will be available after next year.
- Conclusion: As proposed by OFIO, the education courses will be created in a foreign language. Agreed matter was delivered to the filing company, and aftercare service will be provided.