MoE enacts three-strike rule for failing to report accidents

South Korea’s Ministry of Environment (MoE) has implemented a three-strike rule for failing to report chemical accidents quickly enough. Since 30 May, companies that fail three times to report accidents involving a number of dangerous chemicals face losing their business licence. The ministry has also made several other rulings on handling these chemicals. Under the reporting rules, a site that has a chemical accident must report to the local authority, environmental office, police station or fire station within 15 minutes of it taking place. Failure to observe the rules incurs a “strike” and three-strikes means the loss of business licence. Prior to the new rule, there were penalties for a lack of prompt reporting but these were much milder: four breaches of the rules brought a penalty of one month’s suspension of business. The MoE rulings apply to facilities handling any substances on a “contingency substances list” of 97 particularly dangerous chemicals, with hazardous properties such as toxicity, flammability, explosiveness and water reactivity. The recent changes added 28 new substances to the previous list of 69. The new substances include silicon tetrachloride, silane and bromine. The MoE notes there may be cases where compliance with rules for facilities is not practical. If this is judged the case, the National Institute of Chemical Safety may allow alternative methods to ensure the same level of safety.

Chemical Watch, 7 June 2017 ; ;