The Korea Herald


Subway maintenance worker dies during repairs

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Sept. 4, 2016 - 16:13

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Another subway maintenance worker died in an accident over the weekend while repairing subway facilities, rekindling concerns regarding the safety management of subway operator Seoul Metro.

According to Gwangjin Fire Station, 28-year-old employee surnamed Park fell down below the railroad bridge during maintenance operations near subway line No. 2 Seongsu Station at 1:12 p.m. on Saturday. 

The accident was reported to the rescue center immediately, but Park was found dead in the waters below the bridge at 2:30 p.m. 

It was the fourth fatal accident of its kind to occur since 2013.

The railroad bridge near subway line No. 2 Seongsu Station, where a maintenance employee fell off in accident and died on Saturday. (Yonhap) The railroad bridge near subway line No. 2 Seongsu Station, where a maintenance employee fell off in accident and died on Saturday. (Yonhap)

A team of five workers from “3s Engineering,” a subcontracted company for railroad bridge reinforcement construction, were working on removing the supporting fixtures, according to Seoul Metro.

The operator said that it is currently examining the exact cause of the accident, adding that there has been no error in operating subway line No. 2 trains.

Saturday’s accident came three months after the death of 19-year-old employee Kim of Eunsung PSD, a company that had been subcontracted by Seoul Metro for screen door maintenance. Kim, who was working on his own to repair a malfunctioning door, died after being hit by an incoming subway train at subway line No. 2. Guui Station on May 28.

In June, Seoul Metro admitted that it was due to lax safety standards and flawed management system. It vowed to implement preventive measures by operating strengthened safety requirements and supervising systems through surveillance cameras while workers are on the track.

According to statistics, about 40 percent of a total number of workers who died from industrial accidents last year were from subcontracted companies. 

Experts voiced concerns that there should be fundamental measures to guarantee the safety of subcontracted employees, such as imposing penalties for safety violations at construction or installation maintenance sites.

“While the current law is not enough to secure the safety of workers from subcontracted companies from industrial accidents, the entire system of the labor environment will not easily improve,” said professor Lee Byung-hun of sociology from Chungang University.

“There should be stronger measures by law with regard to penalties for safety violations at certain environments such as construction or maintenance sites,” he added.

By Kim Da-sol (