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Improvements in Safety Management for Underground Facilities in Seoul

Suk-Min LeeㆍHyung-Mi Yoon

Underground facilities are part of the basic infrastructure that directly affects the lives of Seoul’s citizens. In addition, there is a growing demand for Seoul Metropolitan Government to take responsibility in the event of any accidents within the Underground system. Nevertheless, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has a limited role in dealing with accidents at underground facilities managed by private companies.
The occurrence of underground facility accidents in Seoul not only leads to damage to citizens' lives and property, but can also inflict secondary damage such as drinking water interruption, power failure and communication paralysis, causing great inconvenience in daily life. In addition, safety management of underground facilities is very important because they include planning for large-scale disasters such as road sinking and casualties in the event of an explosion or fire in the underground facilities.
In this study, we want to find real improvements through analysis of the status of our underground facilities while also investigating cases of accidents, the current safety procedures and manuals, information systems related to underground facilities, as well as conducting interviews with officials who work in the system everyday.
The underground facilities subject to this study can be divided into seven major categories: water supply, sewage, electricity, telecommunications, gas, heat transport pipes, and utility tunnel.
The policy improvement plans are divided into ordinary safety management measures, enhancements to responsiveness in the event of an accident, and strengthening administrative organization for the management of underground facilities in Seoul.
The ordinary safety management measures include safety inspections for underground facilities, information management systems for underground facilities, and readjustment of related laws.
Measures to improve the ability to respond in the event of an accident include strengthening the responsibility of the disaster control department, setting up and training for complex disaster scenarios, and rearranging the disaster response manuals.
In strengthening the administrative organization for the management of underground facilities, the government aims to draw up measures to strengthen the public-private working-level of co-operation and to enhance the role of the department currently in charge of underground safety affairs.