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Improving the Labour Environment in Seoul’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and the Implications of Related Policies

Jinha KimㆍMin young Hwang

In recent years, serious concerns around increased fatalities in industrial accidents have emerged, with these comes the need to improve the labour environment in Seoul with regard to worker’s safety. SMEs in Seoul make up an important share of industry and employment, unfortunately, the majority of industrial accidents are occurred in SMEs. Most small and medium-sized enterprises in Seoul are focused on sales or are restaurant businesses. Therefore, employees in these businesses are vulnerable to mental health risks caused by customer interaction. The city of Seoul contains a large share of wholesale and retail along with lodging and restaurant businesses. The people working in these companies are, therefore, vulnerable to complex physical and mental health risks. Due to the revision of the Korean Industrial Safety and Health Act, contractors’ responsibility for preventing industrial accidents has been strengthened. In addition, the parties that can be potentially held responsible have been expanded. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has established an ordinance to lead changes to the labour environment of affiliated organizations and to conduct inspections. In order to improve the labour environment of SMEs in Seoul, it is necessary to expand the scope of the ordinance. In addition, companies with excellent industrial accident prevention and occupational safety and health should be selected as an example of good practice. In addition, it is necessary to resolve the blind spot of industrial accident insurance and establish a data collection system.