President Moon Jae-in has called for extraordinary steps to ensure the safety of workers at their jobs, especially those at state-owned enterprises, also stressing a need to hold the top executives of such companies responsible for work safety, his office Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.
"I believe we need strong measures. We need to change the very way public entities or public firms are evaluated by offering more evaluation points for safety while in the past they were largely evaluated by their profits," the president was quoted as saying while meeting with his aides the previous day.
"Up until now, evaluations merely led to a difference in performance-based bonuses. That does little. I believe the leadership, including the company head, must be held responsible when an accident occurs," Moon told the meeting, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.
Moon's remarks follow a tragic accident at a state-run thermal power plant late last year when a 24-year-old subcontract worker was killed after being pulled into a conveyor belt.
The highly publicized accident prompted the rival parties to pass a revision to the law on industrial safety, but the victim's mother continues to call for stronger measures to prevent a repeat of such a tragedy.
President Moon earlier offered to meet the mother to offer his personal condolences, but the mother has rejected his invitation, saying she will meet the president only when she is assured that there will never again be such dangers her deceased son had to face at his work.
"We must make sure company chiefs and other ranking officials will look after their employees as if they would their own children," Moon said. "If they cannot, they should step down, and we need a firm determination that there will not be any safety hazards that could cost precious lives at least at public organizations or in the public sector." (Yonhap)