According to the labor circle and Rep. Han Jeoung-ae of the ruling Democratic Party, Pohang Iron and Steel Corporation(POSCO)'s Pohang steel mill is suspected of hiding a fatal industrial accident that an employee surnamed Kim(53 years old) was found dead at site on February 2. Kim Se-won, daughter of the late Kim raised a suspicion in her facebook account that POSCO was striving to hide the fatal industrial accident at the corporate level, because "POSCO only called 911 one hour after the accident took place." The Labor Today also confirmed the fact in the "Serious Industrial Accident Report' filed by the Pohang Local Office of the Ministry of Employment and Labor(MOEL).
According to the report, the late Kim, a crane operator, was conducting an on-the-job training for an intern regarding the skills to operate a 35 ton crane at the POSCO's cargo pier from 2 p.m. on February 2, the day commencing the lunar New Year holidays. At 4.30 p.m., the late Kim instructed the intern to practice the crane operation for himself and moved up to the crane grab located at the height of 35 meters above the ground for the machine inspection. When the intern finished his practices, he called the late Kim three times with no responses. He moved up to the grab and discovered the late Kim lying stuck between the machines at 5.41 p.m. However, the late Kim was pronounced dead at 7.17 p.m. at the hospital to which the late Kim was transported by the 911 ambulance. It took almost an hour after the late Kim was found at the accident site by the intern. What had happened during such a crucial one hour before the late Kim was transported to the hospital? Why didn't they call 911 for an emergency immediately after the accident? Kim Se-won argues if the intern had called police or 911 instead of having contacted other staff and the in-house first-aid team, her father would have been still alive.
There is another circumstantial evidence for hiding an industrial accident. It was around 7 p.m. that MOEL's Pohang Local Office received the accident report regarding the late Kim. MOEL's Poang Local Office dispatched a labor inspector to the accident site to examine the reasons of the accident. The report states that "the time when the victim was found, there was no visible injury, and the intern who found the victim first said to police that he had not operated the crane. The Pohang Local Office reported the accident to the MOEL's head office that the death was caused by his personal illness and it will take actions in accordance with the result of an autopsy." On February 4, two days after the accident, the autopsy ascribed the death to an excessive bleeding due to ruptured organs with external shocks and then the MOEL only issued an order to suspend POSCO's partial operation. The labor inspection report also seemed to indicate that the death was caused by a heart attack, citing no visible injury.
The MOEL, Pohang Southern Police Station, and the National Forensic Service entered into a joint inspection of the death from February 7 and it would take a couple of weeks to find out the exact causes of his death. If a family member of the late Kim who died at the work site during the lunar New Year holidays did not demand an autopsy, his death would have been wrongly diagnosed with his personal illness, failing to uncover the fact.
reported by Kim Mi-young
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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