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Gov’t announces worker protection measures for heat waves

Gov’t announces worker protection measures for heat waves

Posted May. 23, 2024 07:53,   

Updated May. 23, 2024 11:33


With scorching weather expected this summer, the government has taken measures to protect workers, such as recommending that employees take at least 10 minutes of rest every hour on days when the temperature is 33 degrees Celsius or higher.

The Employment and Labor Ministry announced Wednesday that it will implement ‘Measures to protect workers' health in the heat wave’ through September. According to the measures, the heat wave standard will change from air temperature to sensible temperature this year. “For indoor spaces, the sensible temperature is more important than the air temperature,” an official from the ministry said. “To this end, we have established a system that automatically calculates the sensible temperature when the temperature and humidity are submitted at the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency website or via QR code.”

The ministry has decided to advise employers to provide water and shade breaks to workers in the ‘attention’ stage at temperatures at 31 degrees Celsius and above to give 10-minute breaks every hour, and reduce outdoor work from 2-5 p.m. in the ‘caution’ stage at 33 degrees Celsius and above. A ‘warning’ will be issued when the temperature surpasses 35 degrees, requiring employers to provide 15-minute breaks every hour and suspend outdoor work during peak heat hours. Also, it will require employers to stop outdoor work, except for emergency measures at the ‘danger’ level when the temperature hits 38 degrees or higher. The Korea Meteorological Administration also plans to forecast the effects of the extreme heat at 11:30 a.m. on days when the heat risk level in the industrial sector is ‘caution' or higher through the Major Disaster Siren (KakaoTalk open chat room) and Naver Band for safety and health managers.

Ae-Jin Ju jaj@donga.com