In order to prevent chemical accidents in advance and to minimize the damages, the Korean government covers poisonous substances and substances requiring the preparation for accident (700 types), hazardous and noxious substances (700 types), energy and high pressure gases (50 types) ard dangerous materials (3,000 types) and those substances to be hazardous substance to manage. Furthermore, each ministry builds prior management system for chemical accident through its prevention plan (Ministry of Environment), Process Safety Report (Ministry of Employment and Labor), Safety Improvement Plan (Ministry of Knowledge and Economy). To establish an improvement plan for these systems, each ministry conducts self inspection and a special inspection in cooperation with the government for safety management status and emergency response system of business or related institute dealing hazardous substances.

Maintenance of Accident Response Agent

Since various ministries are managing chemical substances recently, the ministry managing substances should be responsible for accident responses and resolution to improve the ambiguity of the ministry in charge of resolving accident. However, in case of overlapped or unclear (substance excluded from management according to the current law) responsibility of some ministries, the response or resolution system is to be unified to the Ministry of Environment, allowing prompt responses. Also, governmental responses, including declaration of special disaster area are to be promoted and the government refines laws for damage supports when serious disasters such as chemical accident occur, clarifying the resolution for disasters.

The risk of accidents increases as the distribution of chemical materials increases, however, the fact that the current organization and man power cannot respond systematically to complicated and various chemical accidents was raised as an issue of concern. Accordingly, a center responsible for chemical accidents at the Ministry of Environment will be established. First, the establishment of 'chemicals safety center' as an additional organization by expanding and reorganizing responsible department (Chemicals Safety Management Center) at the National Institute of Environmental Research is under review. It is planned to reinforce the organization to strengthen regional environmental office's responses against chemical accident.

Enforcement of Accident Response System

The accident response manual in which the role of institution and response procedure are prescribed required partial improvement to take a seamless action when accidents take place in reality. Accordingly, the institutions that require  situation report are noted in the manual to avoid from missing. The initial response institutions such as all local governments and fire stations with business sites dealing with hazardous substances more than the specific volume are mandated to write related manuals. Meanwhile, considering the nature of chemical accidents that require directly issuing warnings of "alert" and "serious"  without issuing "attention" and "caution", the resident evacuation order was changed in a realistic manner to issue "serious" instead of "alert".

In preparation for chemical accidents and terrorism, the National Institute of Environmental Research is operating the Chemical Accident Emergency Respond Information System (CARIS). However, its utilization is substandard due to △absence of operating ground △ poor data △ poor understanding due to too many uses of professional terminology. Also because of scattered information throughout the department, information such as manufacturing, import and uses of hazardous substances, it was hard to understand the accurate state and take a prompt and appropriate action when accident occurred. Accordingly, it is planned to improve and revise all systems by establishing legal operating regulation of information system response to chemical accident, information updates and advancement of function; it is also planned to improve system for a smooth information sharing by interconnecting information system being operated and managed by each department.

Furthermore, to strengthen the management of hazardous substances transportation, a tracking management system for chemicals transportation will be established by attaching GHS to moving tank lorry truck and improve classification and indication system for hazardous substances.

Enforcement of Educational Training and Expansion of Equipment

In order to foster professional talents, training courses specialized in response measures for chemical accidents will be established, and courses for the person in charge of manuals will become mandatory to enhance expertise.

It is planned to expand equipment such as a special vehicle that can block air pollution upon entering accident sites, equipment to analyze the property of substances and multi functional decontamination facilities.

It is planned to strengthen practical training related to accident by building new training ground for chemical accident or terrorism and conducting simulation training with related institutes and also to conduct mandatory education and training for individual business site.

Enforcement of Safety Management and Inspection

Current process of safety management, which is not applied to sites with less than 5 employees even the amount of toxicants used is higher than the certain volume will be improved to apply to all sites regardless of the number of employees; the applicable substance is also to be expanded (around 21 types→40 types). In addition to this, it is planned to strengthen the site management by a joint inspection of related department (the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Employment and Labor, and the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy) and a spot inspection for small sized companies.

In order to improve safety management of sites, safety manager fully qualified to site dealing with substances should be appointed to prepare for accidents. Businesses that use certain amount of the concerned chemicals will be required to buy insurances in preparation for chemical accidents. As for big businesses that jointly perform safety management with subcontractors, additional grades for assessment reports and other incentives will be given so as to encourage businesses to perform voluntary safety management. 

In order to strengthen safety management in industrial complex, it is planned to dispatch expert to provide consulations on chemical substances and perform safety instructions at the Major Occupational Accident Prevention Center (5 regional industrial complexes) of the Ministry of Employment and Labor, secure safe separation distance between residential areas and other businesses when approval for occupancy of industrial complex and also expand Chemical Management Service in which professional company manages overall process of chemicals used by companies.

Last modified : 2013-10-29 18:02

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