Officials to conduct safety checks on chemical firms
Published : 2013-03-06 21:02
Updated : 2013-03-06 21:02
In the wake of a series of toxic gas leakage cases, the government will launch extensive inspections of firms that deal with chemical substances, the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday.
There have been growing calls for thorough measures to prevent the recurrence of toxic chemical leakage accidents after the country saw a string of such cases over the past several months.
On Tuesday, about 1 liter of liquefied chlorine gas was leaked at a factory run by the chemical company Gumi Chemical, leading some 200 people to receive treatment. In January, around 10 liters of diluted hydrofluoric acid leaked from Samsung Electronics’
semiconductor plant in Hwaseong, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, killing one worker and injuring four others. Last September, some 8 tons of hydrofluoric acid leaked from a factory run by chemical maker Hube Global, killing five workers and injuring 18 others.
Under the comprehensive plan, the government will conduct inspections of 985 businesses nationwide that deal with large amounts of chemicals and have a track record of similar accidents, with plans to extend the scope in phases.
The government will revise relevant laws to require chemical firms to request permission to set up their businesses instead of the current system of self-registration.
The so-called three-strikes law will also be introduced where firms that violate safety regulations three times during a certain period of time will face a forcible shutdown of their businesses, according to the PMO.
All chemical firms will be required to undergo safety checks of their facilities, while the government will strengthen support for safety education and training, it added.
“It is very regrettable to see another gas leakage accident yesterday. While pushing for the measures we announced today as soon as possible, the government will continue to devise fundamental measures to guarantee public safety that span all ministries,” said Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Kim Dong-yeon said. (Yonhap News)