We provide below an update concerning the Serious Accidents Punishment Act (the “SAPA”) and the Enforcement Decree promulgated thereunder (the “SAPA-ED”).
What is the SAPA?
Enacted in January 2021, the SAPA imposes criminal penalties on the responsible management personnel (the “RMP”) of a business whose failure to secure safety and health in violation of the requirements of the SAPA causes serious industrial accidents or serious public accidents, as the case may be. The effective date of the SAPA is January 27, 2022 for a business with 50 or more employees.
The SAPA delegates to the SAPA-ED, per the Korean statutory scheme, to elaborate relevant requirements pertaining to the RMP’s obligation to secure safety and health. Specifically, the SAPA stipulates that the details on the “measures related to establishment of safety and health management system and its implementation” and the “managerial measures necessary to fulfill obligations under safety and health-related laws” shall be set forth in the SAPA-ED.
Passing of the SAPA-ED
On September 28, 2021, the Cabinet reviewed and approved the proposed version of the SAPA-ED, which is scheduled to take effect from January 27, 2022.
With respect to “measures related to establishment of safety and health management system and its implementation” and “managerial measures necessary to fulfill obligations under safety and health-related laws,” the SAPA-ED stipulates various action items. Please refer to the Appendix hereto for further details.
In addition, the SAPA-ED sets forth 24 types of “occupational illnesses”—13 types of acute poisoning and 11 types of illnesses related to syndromes or high risk works—in connection with “persons contracting occupational illness” referenced in Article 2, Item 2 (c) of the SAPA as a type of serious industrial accident, and the scope of public facilities (multi-use facility, establishment, workplace and other facilities) in detail in connection with serious public accidents. Please refer to the Appendix hereto for further details.
After January 27, 2022—for businesses with 50 or more employees—upon the occurrence of a “serious industrial accident” or a “serious public accident”, as the case may be—whether criminal penalty would be imposed for a violation of the SAPA would be determined by examining whether the RMP fulfilled his or her obligation to secure safety and health as prescribed by the SAPA and the SAPA-ED. As such, it would be prudent for businesses to become familiar with the RMP’s obligation to secure safety and health as enumerated in both the SAPA and the SAPA-ED and take measures to fulfill applicable requirements.
Attachment [Appendix] Key Details of the SAPA-ED.pdf