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J Occup Health year 2000 volume 42 number 5 page 270 - 275
Classification Occupational Health/Safety in the World
Title Safety and Health in Small-Scale Enterprises and Bankruptcy during Economic Depression in Korea
Author Ji-Yong KIM1 and Domyung PAEK2
Organization 1Dongkuk University, School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine and
2Seoul National University, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, Korea
Keywords Safety and Health, Bankruptcy, Economic depression, Occupational health management, Occupational accident, Occupational disease, Work environment
Correspondence D. Paek, Seoul National University, School of Public Health, 28 Yeunkun-Dong, Chongno-ku, Seoul 110-799, Korea
Abstract Safety and Health in Small-Scale Enterprises and Bankruptcy during Economic Depression in Korea: Ji-Yong KIM, et al. Dongkuk University, School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine-On November 1997, Korea experienced a rather sudden economic depression after a shortage of foreign currency and downfall of foreign investment. This brought a sudden increase in the bankruptcy rate and also an increase in unemployment from the usual 2-3% to over 10%. This study was undertaken to examine the effect of the antecedent health and safety status on the subsequent bankruptcy during economic depression. We were able to obtain the previous occupational health and safety records of 4,811 out of 5,010 companies which had received a financial subsidy from the government for occupational safety and health services during 1997. Based on the data of the Workmen's Insurance Corporation in Korea as of March 1999, we could identify the bankruptcy status of 3,980 companies altogether. When the results of the annual special workers' health examination, workplace environment measurement, and injury rate during 1996 were analyzed according to the survival status of the identified companies as of 1999, the bankrupt companies had significantly worse records in workplace environmental exposures and injury rates than the survived companies. Although the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss and heavy metal poisoning was higher in the bankrupt companies, the prevalence of pneumoconiosis was lower. The type of industry and the size were also analyzed and accounted for in the final analysis of the impact of safety and health status on the survival of the enterprises, and the results showed the same trends. These results suggest that companies run by better management with better health and safety records will experience less bankruptcy during economic downfall. When considering the long latency from the first exposure to the final manifestation, the higher prevalence of pneumoconiosis in the survived companies could be explained on the basis of the longer operation time and longer exposure duration.