A South Korean worker employed by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) died on Tuesday after falling off a scaffold while working on a shipbuilding project for Statoil.
The 39-year-old man was taken to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead two hours late, a Korean newspaper reported.
“Workers for subcontracting firms are exposed to bigger dangers because they have no labour unions to represent them”, labour attorney Park Hye-young told Korea Herald, arguing that the worker’s death could have been prevented.
Worker Dies in Hyundai Heavy Shipyard
In 2016 alone, eight workers have died in accidents while working for the Korean shipbuilder, subsidiaries’ shipyards and subcontracted firms. The string of incidents has been allegedly caused by poor safety conditions.
In May this year, a 30-year-old worker employed by HHI affiliate Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries died after falling off the storage inside a crude oil carrier. According to subsequent reports, the worker did not have safety fences.
Over the same month, a 41-year-old man working for HHI affiliate Hyundai Mipo Dockyar, died after falling from a ladder holding a paint pot.
In fact, HHI was forced to close its plants in April to undertake safety inspections.
This followed a series of accidents that claimed the lives of three workers in one week over the month, while two workers had died in March, also due to lack of safety.
The one-day shutdown was estimated to have cost the company 8.3 billion won (£5.5 million).
HHI Accused of Offering Unsafe Work Conditions
HHI has been under the limelight for reportedly outsourcing dangerous jobs and failing to comply with safety procedures, as well as refusing to take responsibility for these accidents.
Over the last three years, a total of 24 workers have died while working for shipbuilders in South Korea.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor and HHI unions launched a partial industrial strike action this week to protest against the company’s plan to freeze wages.