A Paris Baguette store in Seoul. Paris Baguette is a bakery franchise owned by SPC Group. [YONHAP]
Companies in the SPC group were fined 600 million won ($472,000) for violating safety regulations. Legal action may be taken against top management of the companies.
On Oct. 15, a 23-year-old employee working at an SPL bread factory in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, died after getting caught in an industrial mixer. SPL is owned by Paris Croissaint, a company wholly owned by Hur Young-in.
Paris Baguette is owned by Paris Croissaint, and Hur and his family are the controlling shareholders of KRX-listed SPC Samlip.
The companies, known collectively as the SPC Group, have also been found to have failed to disburse payments to workers totaling 1.2 billion won.
According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor on Monday, violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act were found at 86.5 percent of the group's operations. This includes failures relating to safety and health education for employees, safety measures for machinery and equipment and subpar safety and health regulation and management.
The government found that some machinery was left opened without proper safety covers placed or proper lock-out, tag –out, which is a safety procedure that ensures that the equipment is shut down for maintenance, repair or cleaning.
Some of the operations didn’t have an appointed safety manager. And even if one was designated, the person was given additional unrelated tasks.
There were cases in which no industrial hazard reports were submitted.
Several sites had problems with emergency exits.
The Labor Ministry said it has ordered the suspension of 44 pieces of equipment due to safety risks, including 40 mixers.
In addition, 33 sites were found to have not paid employees for night-shift work, working on holidays and unused paid leave.
The ministry said it has also found that some of the companies had failed to provide proper benefits.
The Serious Accident Punishment Act came into effect in January this year, and since then fatalities related to occupational accidents in Korea have been steadily rising.
A worker in his 30s died from an explosion at Hankuk Carbon, a chemical company, on Christmas Eve. Earlier this year, a worker in his 50s was crushed to death by a vehicle that tows passenger planes at Incheon International Airport’s terminal 2.
Last month the ministry said it will change job site oversight by shifting more responsibilities to the companies and move away from heavy-handed government control.
Large companies with 300 or more employees will be required to create self-risk assessment systems starting next year. Smaller companies will have to the same by 2024.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [email@example.com]