Seventy percent of part-time workers complain of work-related illnesses (Koreaherald)

#exhaution #work_related_illness #Albamon #Korea

“… a jobs portal, polled 2,054 part-time employees from Nov. 1-3 and found that 72 percent had complaints about various physical conditions due to their work. ”


Original Article from :

Seven out of 10 part-time workers said they are suffering from job-related illnesses, mostly chronic exhaustion, in a survey released Monday.

Albamon, a jobs portal, polled 2,054 part-time employees from Nov. 1-3 and found that 72 percent had complaints about various physical conditions due to their work. Health problems were reported by 74.5 percent of those employed in the services industry, followed by 72.3 percent in sales, 69.9 percent in production and physical labor, and 61.6 percent in administrative work, IT and design.


Chronic exhaustion was cited by 58.2 percent of those polled, where multiple answers were allowed. Another 48.5 percent complained of swollen legs from having to work standing up all day.

Thirty-nine percent said they had symptoms of arthritis or muscle pain, 28.1 percent said they had indigestion, and 26.6 percent had pains in the wrists or shoulders. Another 15.2 percent complained of migraine headaches and 13.4 percent had trouble sleeping. (Yonhap)

Semiconductor workers’ seek acknowledgement of industrial accident status

#Banollim #Industrial_Accident #Samsung #worker’s_health

“In August, the Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff in a case filed by a former Samsung Electronics worker demanding industrial accident acknowledgment for their multiple sclerosis. Citing the principle of “relieving the burden of proof,” the court overturned an earlier court decision to dismiss the case on the grounds that the correlation between the worker’s duties and the illness was inadequately proven.”

Original Article from :


The semiconductor worker health and human rights watchdog group Banollim holds a press conference on Oct. 31 at the southern Seoul branch of the Korea Workers‘ Compensation and Welfare Service (K-Comwel) to urge the agency to “quickly acknowledge industrial accident status for workers suffering occupational diseases in the electronics industry.” (provided by Banollim)

Employees in the industry became sick with a variety of illness including leukemia and multiple sclerosis

Seven people who contracted leukemia, lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions during or after working for South Korean semiconductor manufacturers, including Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, applied for acknowledgment of industrial accident status on Oct. 31.

The semiconductor worker health and human rights watchdog group Banollim held a press conference the same day at the southern Seoul branch of the Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (K-Comwel) to urge the agency to “quickly acknowledge industrial accident status for workers suffering occupational diseases in the electronics industry.”

Banollim’s request for acknowledgment was the 13th since the group began filing collective requests for leukemia cases at Samsung Electronics employees in Apr. 2008. As of Oct. 31, the group had applied for collective industrial accident acknowledgment for 94 people, but only 22 received it. Of the 393 semiconductor-related occupational disease sufferers reported to Banollim over the past ten years, 144 have already passed away.

In the past, K-Comwel has been reluctant to grant industrial accident acknowledgment, citing a lack of evidence of exposure to carcinogens or clear medical causes for the conditions – effectively placing the burden of proof on the victims. In contrast, Banollim has demanded that industrial accident acknowledgment standards be immediately revised in line with a recent Supreme Court decision, and insisted that acknowledgment be granted in cases of repeated instances of occupational diseases without a long investigation and review process.

In August, the Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff in a case filed by a former Samsung Electronics worker demanding industrial accident acknowledgment for their multiple sclerosis. Citing the principle of “relieving the burden of proof,” the court overturned an earlier court decision to dismiss the case on the grounds that the correlation between the worker’s duties and the illness was inadequately proven. Attention is now turning to the administration as it weighs a changing in policy amid recent court decisions taking a more stance on industrial accident acknowledgment.


By Cho Il-jun, staff reporter

Corruption in the Recruitment Process of Public Institutions While Actual Unemployment Rate Experienced by the Young Peaks (Kyunghyang editorial)

#empoyment #corruption  #SDH #Korea

Original Article from : 

The employment rate of people in their twenties continues to fall for the sixth month since April. During that same period, there was no other age group that recorded a negative employment rate. While the employment rate of young people dropped, the unemployment rate in the same age group continued to climb to rates of 9-10%.

According to the September employment trend released by Statistics Korea on October 18, the unemployment rate of young people aged 15-29 dropped 0.2% from a year ago to 9.2%. When we look at the people just in their twenties, the rate is 9.4%. After the unemployment rate of the people in their twenties recorded 8.5% in January this year, it has remained in the 9% level for eight months. When we include the number of people who have given up looking for employment and who are preparing to enter the job market, the actual unemployment rate experienced by the young people climbs to 21.5%, a 0.2% increase from the same period last year. This is the highest level for September since 2015 when related statistics were collected. We are witnessing a situation in which one in every five young people continue to remain unemployed. The situation is the same with the employment rate. The employment rate dropped 0.8% from 58.7% last year to 57.9%. Among the people in their twenties, job-seekers, who are classified as “on a break,” also increased by 31,000 (13.1%) from a year ago.

The decline in youth employment and the increase in the actual unemployment rate experienced by the young people is depressing news indeed for the people preparing to enter the job market, already disappointed at a series of corruption cases in the recruitment of employees by public and financial institutions. In a parliamentary inspection a few days ago, Justice Party lawmaker Sim Sang-jeung raised allegations of corruption in the recruitment of employees at Woori Bank. According to a document titled, “Recommendations for the Public Recruitment of New Employees in 2016,” which Sim released, Woori Bank allegedly recruited sixteen children and relatives of senior officials at the National Intelligence Service and the Financial Supervisory Service and of VIP customers when hiring new workers last year. The document included the personal information of the people who were suspected of having made the solicitation under the column for “relevant information,” as well as the personal information of the applicants, such as name, age, gender, and educational background. The name and position of the Woori Bank executive was written under the column “referrer” and in the case of the children of VIP customers, the bank account details of the applicant was included in the “remarks” section. If this allegation is true, it is indeed shocking. The moral hazard of the executives and employees at the Financial Supervisory Service is serious, as allegations of job solicitations have emerged following problems with large loans and corruption in employee recruitment.

Words cannot express the shock that the people seeking employment must have felt after corruption in the recruitment process at Kangwon Land and the Financial Supervisory Service was exposed, ahead of Woori Bank. Irregularities in the recruitment process at public and financial institutions shatter the principle of equal opportunity and are crimes that discourage the people seeking employment. The government should thoroughly investigate the latest corruption case and strictly punish those responsible. In addition, the government needs to make every effort to provide a policy that can promote the employment of young people.


The 30th Anniversary of APH International Symposium

APH symposium


The Korean Association of Physicians for Humanism announced that they will be holding international Symposium for their 30th Anniversary. The symposium focuses on the inequalities of health inequalities and the role of physicians in the era of inequality and invites doctors in action from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines to share their experiences.

In the second part of the lecture, Michael Marmot, the renowned researcher on health inequality, and former president of the World Physicians Association will give a lecture on the social determinants of health.

The event will be held in Sejong Center, 21th November.

Complaints soar after release of info on sanitary pads

#women_health #chemical #safety #menstrual_care_product

Chemical safety problem around various products issued in Korea, starting from humidifier sterilizer, sanitary pads, pesticide-containing egg, etc. Is this just society being chemical-phobic and untrustful or is it because exposure to unregulated toxic chemicals included in everyday supplies rightfuly being exposed?



Complaints about unexpected side effects from using sanitary pads have spiked since mid-August when information regarding the materials used in these products were released, according to the Food and Drug Safety Ministry on Wednesday.

Since Aug. 21, a total of 74 complaints have been lodged with the Korea Institute of Drug Safety and Risk Management concerning the use of menstrual care products. There were no complaints regarding menstrual care products reported before Aug. 20.

The complaints mostly focused on the use of Lilian pads, which were named as one of the brands of products containing toxins. Side effects that were reported included changes in menstrual cycles and volume.

Sanitary pads at a discount retailer in Seoul (Yonhap)

The complaints were sent by the Food and Drug Safety Ministry to a committee on sanitary pad safety, made up of independent experts for further study. The committee will be responsible for leading tests on existing products in the market and creating new sets of standards for specific toxins that are found in sanitary products.

Meanwhile, a local women’s rights group announced last month that it had collected complaints from over 3,000 women over three days last month after the safety study was made public.

Additional information released by the Food and Drug Safety Ministry showed that all of the top brands of sanitary pads being sold in Korea contained toxic chemicals.

These types of chemicals have not yet been scientifically linked to health risks for women, but the news has led to more consumers turning to organic cotton products or buying menstrual cups directly from overseas sellers.

Sales of cotton pads in the two weeks following initial news reports about Lilian pads rose 385 percent on-year at discount retailer E-mart. Sales of menstrual cups to Korean consumers from health products website Vitatra rose 470 percent compared to the previous week, in the week following the reports. Menstrual cups have not yet been certified for sale in Korea.

“This case demonstrates how crucial it is for consumers to have the right information,” said Park Myung-hee, who heads the consumer rights group Korea Consumer’s Network.

“Women could not come forward before because they did not know that it was possible that these products contained toxins, but that did not mean there was no risk. Rather than taking action only on products that create public outcry, safety agencies need to make more of an effort to identify risks ahead of time and engage with the public.”

By Won Ho-jung (

Original article from:

[Big Data on Suicide Unveiled for the First Time] People at Risk of Suicide Lived in Poor Housing Conditions (kyung-hyang)

#Suicide #SDH  #housing #Korea #Public_View

“…the latest research confirmed that housing environment had a significant impact on suicides. Regardless of the geographical location, there were many people at risk of suicide people who had contemplated suicide among those paying a monthly rent for houses smaller than 66m2.”



South Korea’s suicide rate is among the highest in the world. Since 2003, more than 10,000 people took their own lives every year, granting South Korea with the disgraceful title of the number one country in suicides among the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Last year, 28.7 people per every 100,000 of the population committed suicide, widening the gap with second place Japan (18.7).

It now seems possible to identify areas where people at risk of suicide mostly reside using numbers, such as the population, geographical information and past suicide statistics. If we concentrate on areas at high risk based on this data, we may be able to prevent a considerable number of suicides.

On September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, Public View, a nonprofit research network, released a 2017-2018 map to prevent and respond to people at risk of suicide. This map categorized seventeen metropolitan cities and provinces, 252 si, gun and gus, and 3,491 eup, myeon, and dongs into five levels (A-E), according to the percentage of people at risk of suicide. The area with the highest risk was labeled A and among the metropolitan cities and provinces, the Seoul metropolitan area including Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, and Incheon fit in this category. The proportion of people at risk of suicide decreased outside large cities, but there was a big difference among eup, myeon and dong within the provinces and larger cities.

After surveying 4,500 people nationwide and analyzing the distribution of actual suicide victims by region over the past decade, the latest research confirmed that housing environment had a significant impact on suicides. Regardless of the geographical location, there were many people at risk of suicide people who had contemplated suicide among those paying a monthly rent for houses smaller than 66m2. This means that socio-economic factors, as well as psychological problems like depression, stress, and anger are the main cause of suicide.

In the northern part of Seoul, there were many people in their twenties and thirties who were at high risk, while below the Hangang River, people aged 35-44 were the main people at risk. In Gangwon-do, Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeonggi-do, people in their forties and fifties were at high risk while in Jeju-do, people in their forties and sixties were at high risk of suicide.

Experts point out that to reduce the number of suicides, the government needs to analyze the characteristics and distribution of people at risk and link this to welfare and housing policies. In Japan, stronger responses in connection with the local community have been effective in reducing the suicide rate by 30% over ten years. Choi Jeong-muk, the deputy director of the Local Government Data Research Institute, a member of Public View, which organized the latest research, said, “We were able to identify the status of areas where more people at high risk of suicide lived in with the geographical data. We should be able to effectively increase the infrastructure necessary to respond to and prevent suicide.”


More people in Seoul living in “residentially vulnerable” conditions (hankyoreh)

#Social_determinant_of_health #Housing #Seoul #vulnerable_accomodation_rising #youth_and_eldery #inequality

While more people being pushed into residentially vulnerable conditions, it is known that people living in these “miscellaneous” accommodations experience higher unmet medical need which leads to lower quality of life and subjective status, and also more prevalence of suicide.

A gosiwon (a small room in a cramped boarding house)

Report finds that housing situation in the capital is particularly poor for youth and the elderly

Last year, more than 70,000 households in Seoul fell into the category of the “residentially vulnerable,” which means they are living in cramped boarding houses called “gosiwon,” public bathhouses, or on the streets, new government figures show.

Figures from a census by Statistics Korea released on Sept. 10 show that 209,486 households were living in non-traditional housing last year, out of a total of 3,784,705 households living in Seoul. Non-traditional housing includes office-apartment combinations called “officetels” (129,152 households), hospitality establishments including hotels and motels (2,219), dormitories and other special social facilities (3,999) and shacks and greenhouses (1,976).

According to the census, 72,140 of the households living in non-traditional housing were staying in “miscellaneous” accommodations. Most of these people are moving between gosiwon and public bathhouses or are staying in their self-owned restaurants. The number of households whose accommodations were classified as “miscellaneous” was recorded as 69,870 in the 2015 population survey, representing an increase of 2,270 households over the past year.

The percentage of residentially vulnerable households actually increased from the previous year. The total number of households living in Seoul last year grew by just over 200 from the previous year (3,784,490), which means that the increase in the number of the residentially vulnerable was relatively large. The number of Seoul households living in traditional housing (a category including houses and apartments) last year was 3,575,219, which was actually down from the year before (3,590,265).The increase in the number of residentially vulnerable households living in Seoul last year appears to have been due to population aging and to the rise in the number of people living alone. The largest age group among households in the miscellaneous category was 15 to 19 years old (35.7%), followed by 20 to 24 years old (16.7%) and 60 to 64 years old (11.4%). This implies that the housing environment is particularly poor for the youth and the elderly.

Another factor responsible for the increasing number of households in miscellaneous housing is the fact that the economic downturn has created more small business owners. Business owners who live in their workplace without having a house of their own are also included in the “miscellaneous” category.

“The statistics for the miscellaneous housing category can’t be subdivided any further, but our understanding is that a considerable number of these households are small business owners who live in their place of business,” said an official from Statistics Korea.


By Noh Hyun-woong, staff reporter

original article from:

Widow sues National Pension Service, Suwon City over husband’s death (Hankyoreh)

#conditional_beneficiary’s_death #unrealistic_working_capacity_assessment #basic_livelihood_benefit #Korea


“It was the country that killed him.”

“A conditional beneficiary cannot receive part or any of livelihood benefits unless he or she fulfills certain conditions for rehabilitation, such as obtaining employment.”

“It is the first lawsuit holding the state accountable for the death of a social welfare beneficiary.”


Kwak Hye-sook, the widow of Choi In-ki, holds a photo of her deceased husband while speaking at the MINBYUN office in the Seocho neighborhood of Seoul on Aug. 30. (Ko Han-sol, staff reporter)

Choi In-ki had lost his government assistance despite having a serious heart condition, in real-life Korean version of “I, Daniel Blake”

Kwak Hye-sook held up a picture of her husband. Choi In-gi, who died three years ago at the age of 60, was shown lying in critical care with several different hoses attached to him. Kwak let out a deep sigh as her tears began to flow.

“I photographed everything. Is someone in this state a human? He wasn’t a human. It was the country that killed him.”

Choi In-ki was an express city bus driver. After an aortic aneurysm diagnosis in 2005, he underwent two major operations in 2008 to have the blood vessels around his heart replaced with artificial ones. An aortic aneurysm is a serious condition in which blood vessels could fatally swell and burst at any moment. Left unable to work, Choi was selected as a basic livelihood benefit recipient and received support for living and hospital expenses.


But in 2013, the National Pension Service (NPS), which conducts assessments on the ability to work, concluded that Choi was capable of working. That October, Bundang Seoul National University Hospital diagnosed him as corresponding to stages 3–4 in a four-stage assessment of working capabilities – but NPS re-rated him as a 1, indicating the most favorable state. The city of Suwon, where Choi lived, accepted the conclusion and declared him a “conditional beneficiary.”

A conditional beneficiary cannot receive part or any of livelihood benefits unless he or she fulfills certain conditions for rehabilitation, such as obtaining employment. In June 2014, Choi was finally forced to find work as part of the cleanup crew at an apartment complex. Three months later, he collapsed in an underground parking garage; two months after that, he passed away.

On Aug. 28, the third anniversary of Choi’s death, his widow Kwak joined the MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society Public Interest Human Rights Legal Defense Center in filing suit against NPS and the city of Suwon.

Kwak Hye-sook (second from right) holds a press conference with MINBYUN representatives at a press conference in the group’s office on Aug. 30 to discuss her husband’s death. The case has drawn parallels to the film, “I, Daniel Blake.” (Ko Han-sol, staff reporter)

During an Aug. 30 press conference at MINBYUN’s office in Seoul’s Seocho neighborhood, the group referred to Choi’s death as “the result of unrealistic working capability assessments.” MINBYUN said it was the first lawsuit holding the state accountable for the death of a social welfare beneficiary.

Kwak and the group described Choi’s death as a Korean version of I, Daniel Blake, a film by director Ken Loach about a man who is forced to find work to meet conditions for benefit payment like Choi. In the film, the character dies while his case is being reheard by a public institution.


By Ko Han-sol, staff reporter

Original article from:

Government preparing bill to prevent serious industrial accidents (Kyunghyang)

In the Case of a Fatal Industrial Accident, the Main Contractor Will Also Be Subject to Up to 7 Years in Prison and 100 Mn Won in Fines

#industrial_hazard #bill_responding_to_”outsourcing_of_danger” #should_watch_over #FINALLY

In the future, when a major industrial accident occurs due to a failure to follow safety measures, the main contractor, as well as the subcontractor, will be subject to a maximum of 7 years in prison or a fine of up to 100 million won. A new bill will also have the main contractor, which caused the serious industrial accident, receive disadvantages when bidding for construction contracts, and protect emotional laborers such as the employees working at call centers from industrial accidents.

On August 17, the government accepted the “Measures to Prevent Serious Industrial Accidents” including these details at a meeting to review and adjust current state tasks chaired by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon. Major industrial accidents were defined as work sites where a fatal accident occurred or accidents where two or more people suffered injuries requiring more than three months of treatment and where more than ten people were simultaneously injured. The Ministry of Employment and Labor will draw up amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act to include these details and submit the bill to the National Assembly next March. The government plans to enforce the revised bill in the second half of next year.

The main contractor’s responsibility and punishment for industrial accidents will be strengthened to prevent the “outsourcing” of danger. In the past, the main contractor was subject to up to a year in prison or a fine of less than 10 million won for not adhering to safety measures when a major industrial accident occurred, but punishment will be strengthened, and the main contractor will now be subject to the same punishment as the subcontractors. Until now the main contractor was only responsible for the operations carried out in sites designated as “dangerous,” but now the contractors will be responsible for industrial accidents that occur in all sites. The latest government measure will have the main contractor personally handle operations that deal with particularly high levels of toxicity or danger, such as refining mercury, handling of heavy metals, and plating. As for tower cranes and railway sites, where a series of major accidents had occurred recently, the government plans to draw up guidelines to strengthen inspection standards and to adjust train hours during operations.
The government will also draw up a bill to protect workers engaging in emotional labor, such as the staff at call centers, from industrial hazards. In addition, the government will also make it mandatory for businesses to provide protective gear and safety education for workers in special forms, such as the workers in motorcycle parcel delivery or food delivery. Businesses that fail to follow such regulations will be punished with up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won.

Minister of Employment and Labor Kim Young-joo said, “We will soon establish a task force on innovative safety policies with labor and management and provide specific measures to prevent industrial hazards.”

Original Article from: 

South Korean egg scandal-Activists call for end to factory farming (Korea Herald)

#egg_scandal #pesticide-tainted_egg_crisis #industrial_livestock_industry #Animal_right



Animal rights groups on Monday called for measures to reform the livestock industry, saying that factory farming is behind the egg contamination scandal.

The pesticide-tainted egg crisis is only a prelude to bigger threats to the food safety and public health unless the practice of cramming chickens into battery cages to maximize profits is stopped, they said.

“It is a consequence of industrialized livestock production and it poses a threat to our food security,” said Jeon Jin-kyung, executive director at Korea Animal Rights Advocates, during a press briefing.

President Moon Jae-in promised to overhaul the industrial livestock production, but the question is how he will specifically do so,” she said, criticizing the past governments’ lukewarm efforts to tackle the “fundamental” problem.


The calls come amid growing fears over the distribution of eggs contaminated with insecticides, which experts say could harm human kidneys and liver if consumed in large quantities.

So far, the 52 poultry farms have been revealed to have sold eggs tainted with high levels of insecticides.

The farms had used eight kinds of pesticides including fipronil and flufenoxuron, which are used to kill fleas, lice and ticks on animals, according to the government’s inspection.

About 1370 farms, or 94 percent of the poultry farms in the country, use battery cages that severely restrict animals’ movements and pose hygiene issues, according to government data. The floor area of a cage for each bird is about the size of a sheet of A4 paper.

South Korea is not alone. Eggs containing insecticide fipronil were found in the food chain in 16 European countries and Hong Kong in August, according to the European Commission.

The animal rights activists highlighted that the egg scare could have been prevented if chickens had been able to freely move around and remove ticks by cleaning themselves with sand and soil.

“As five to six chickens are locked in a battery cage, their immune system weakens and diseases spread in no time. As there are no ways to get rid of ticks, farmers cannot help but spray insecticides. In such an environment, the tainted egg crisis and the outbreak of bird flu is just a natural consequence,” activists said.

Intensive farming is also to blame for the outbreak and spread of the bird flu virus, they said.

Until April, nearly 40 million poultry were culled due to bird flu, which was first reported in November last year. When bird flu infects a single bird on a chicken farm, the whole population is destroyed to stop the spread.

The government said it would tighten regulations on the use of insecticides and ensure codes are printed on eggshells to inform consumers of when and who produced the eggs. In the long term, it will expand a system to certify eco-friendly farms with high animal welfare standards, it said.

But animal welfare groups said it is not possible under the current system that lacks a comprehensive animal welfare policy and government body in charge of it.

“To push for the reforms, a team currently in charge of animal welfare under the Agriculture Ministry should be expanded so that it can effectively improve animal welfare standards in the face of the livestock industry’s pursuit of their own interests,” they said.

The government has received criticism for its poor response to the egg contamination scare — including its failure to carry out a thorough inspection and lack of coordination among relevant government bodies.

President Moon Jae-in apologized Monday over the scandal, vowing measures to improve the livestock farming environment.

“In the wake of this case, we have to examine the entire livestock industry’s safety control system and promptly craft measures that can be trusted by citizens,” Moon said at a Cabinet meeting..


By Ock Hyun-ju (


Original article from: