A day after trade unions worldwide marked the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, 38 workers have been killed and at least 10 others seriously injured in a fire at a construction site on 29 April in South Korea.
While none of the victims are members of the construction union in South Korea, the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) immediately dispatched a team to the site to assist the workers when they received news of the fire.
The BWI joins KFCITU in calling for a swift, impartial and transparent investigation of this incident, and the application of appropriate sanctions if it is found that there were lapses or negligence on occupational safety and health laws and regulations.
“We call on governments and employers to ensure workers’ health and safety in by strictly implementing occupational health and safety laws and policies, and by building stronger partnerships with trade unions to create safe workplaces. Together, we must do all we can to reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries,” BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said.
Yuson said that he is deeply troubled by the fire that has claimed so many lives. “This tragedy exposes how dangerous construction work can be. Health and safety on site must be the paramount concern for all on site because no worker should have to put their life on the line for a job, every worker should be able to go home safely to his or her family at the end of the day,”
The Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) sends its condolences to the families of the workers that have lost their lives and well wishes for the recovery of those workers that have been injured.