Scores of employees at the national postal service either killed themselves or died on the job in the past five years.
According to statistics released by Korea Post on Sunday, 29 workers at the service run by the Ministry of Science and ICT took their own lives between 2015 and 2019. Twenty-one of them were mail carriers.
Reasons for the suicides included family troubles, financial difficulties, depression, drinking and long-term illness. In 12 cases, the motives were unknown.
Over the same period, 15 workers were killed as a result of workplace injuries or accidents.
Main opposition Rep. Yoon Sang-jick of the parliamentary committee for Science, ICT, Broadcasting and Communications said: “The fact that an alarming number of employees are losing their lives is a sign that there are loopholes in the management. But the underlying causes are not known.
“The government should make special efforts to create a safe work environment, especially during high-demand periods,” he said.
The service in response said it would implement new measures to ensure mail carrier safety in light of the upcoming Lunar New Year’s holiday.
Some 2,500 staff will be added to the workforce during the peak season, plus 3,100 delivery vehicles, the service said.
Other changes include the obligatory wearing of hard hats, and an emergency response team to be stationed until the end of February. In addition, work will be suspended when weather alerts are in effect and workers will be informed of icy roads and other accident-prone spots.
By Kim Arin (firstname.lastname@example.org