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Measures to Implement the Health and Safety Standard in Household Waste Management, Seoul

KoUn KimㆍWon-Sam KangㆍHyung Mi Yoon

The purpose of this study was to investigate how 25 local municipalities (‘Gu’ in Korean) in Seoul have (or have not) taken the newly legalized Health and Safety Standard into action and to suggest policy implications to raise effective implementation of the standard. Workers in the municipal waste management sector, especially engaging in the collection tasks, have been at risk for accidents and injuries. The typical work conditions of handling heavy and often unknown objects at outside nights had been an issue to workers; furthermore, the recent increase in numbers of accidents and casualties from 2015 to 2017 generated social attention towards the legislation of Health and Safety Standard as the Article 14(5) in 2019. Since the beginning of 2020, local municipalities and authorized persons by municipalities to treat household waste should follow this safety standard, including improving collection facilities such as cars, providing protection measures for workers and changes of work routines. The changes of work routines include shift work schedule from night to day, three people allocated as a work unit and adverse weather policy. To adopt more evidence-oriented measures, the purpose of this study was to investigate officials at the municipalities, authorized workers and managers, citizens in the town centers and citizens in general. Interviews, case studies, and questionnaire survey methods are used to collect information. In contrast to the investigation results from general citizens, people at work ranging from the municipalities to authorized companies expressed negative concerns over the mandatory change from night shift to morning shift. In addition, 20 sites are divided into two groups of possible exempted areas, when municipalities should consider day- and night-shifts to minimize the adverse impacts. In the final chapter, four measures are suggested: clear guidance and implementation, raising the awareness of the standard among the municipality officials and authorized workers, more investment, transparent and consensus building adoption of standard exemptions.