Saf Health Work.  2016 Jun;7(2):161-165. 10.1016/j.shaw.2016.02.005.

Unions, Health and Safety Committees, and Workplace Accidents in the Korean Manufacturing Sector

Affiliations
  • 1Faculty of Economics and Trade, Kongju National University, Gongju, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Republic of Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Republic of Korea. hmhak@kosha.or.kr

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Despite the declining trend of workplace accidents in Republic of Korea, its level is still quite high compared with that in other developed countries. Factors that are responsible for high workplace accidents have not been well documented in Republic of Korea. The main purpose
of this paper is to estimate the effects of unions and health and safety committees on workplace accidents in Korean manufacturing firms. We also allow for the interactions between unions and health and safety committees in the analysis. The results obtained in this paper will not only contribute to the literature in this field, but might also be useful for employers and worker representatives who are trying to find an effective way to reduce workplace accidents.
METHODS
This paper utilizes the 2012 Occupational Safety and Health Trend Survey data, which is a unique data set providing information on workplace injuries and illness as well as other characteristics of participatory firms, representative of the manufacturing industry in Republic of Korea.
RESULTS
In estimating the effects of unions and health and safety committees, we build a negative binomial regression model in which the interactions between unions and health and safety committees are permissible in reducing workplace accidents.
CONCLUSION
Health and safety committees were found to reduce the incidence of accidents whereas unionized establishments have higher incidence of accidents than nonunionized establishments. We also found that health and safety committees can more effectively reduce accidents in nonunionized establishments. By contrast, nonexclusive joint committees can more effectively reduce accidents in unionized establishments.

Keyword

health and safety committees; negative binomial regression model; unions; workplace accidents
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