Legal system and its effect for prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Korea

  • Kee D
  • Chung M
  • Kim J
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Abstract

This study aims to introduce the legislation of occupational safety and health regulations for prevention of WMSDs in Korea and investigate its effect by showing an ergonomic intervention effort in a major motor company. In Korea, WMSDs incidence rates had increased from 1999 to 2003, and it is noted that its increment jumped rapidly in 2002 and 2003. The Korean government established a law prescribing employers' duty of preventing WMSDs in 2002, which began effective in July, 2003. Following the legislation, all employers should execute the examination of WMSDs risk factors for the eleven designated tasks every three years. In addition to this legal obligation, some large companies voluntarily established an ergonomic intervention program by carrying out in-depth assessments for stressful tasks using OWAS, RULA, NLE, etc. We introduce a major motor company case to illustrate the industry's activities of fulfilling the legislative requirement and of performing ergonomic assessments. Thanks to Korean government and industry's effort for prevention of WMSDs, the incidence rates of WMSDs have continually decreased from the year of 2004, right after the year when the WMSDs-related regulation was enforced. Relevance to industry: In spite of booming of information technology industries and automation of manufacturing processes in Korea, many workers are still exposed to the risk of WMSDs including awkward postures, stressful force exertions, repetitive motions in manufacturing and agriculture industries. WMSDs cases alone constitute 43.1% of occupational diseases in Korea and the industry's effort of ergonomic intervention of WMSDs becomes a major issue to both the management and the labor union. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ergonomic intervention
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Risk factors
  • WMSDs

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