Stop-work authority: Workers’ right to improve on-site safety

Samsung C&T Engineering & Construction (E&C) Group is participating in a wide variety of projects both in Korea and overseas, such as buildings, infrastructure, power plants, and residential complexes. While the thing being built is always different, the most important value to be put first is the same at any site: safety. This is why Samsung C&T E&C Group makes countless efforts to improve on-site safety and to create safe work environments, making safety the first principle of business management. Let’s look at some of the efforts the company is making.

A big banner in a Samsung C&T E&C Group’s construction site reads, “We will not work if it is not safe!” to promote stop-work authority.

Stop-work authority

Samsung C&T E&C Group recently announced that it will completely guarantee the authority of workers to stop work. Stop-work authority gives workers the right to ensure their own safety before and during a work process, to legitimately require improvement when there is a hazard, and to work in a safe work environment.

Samsung C&T E&C Group uses a multi-pronged approach to guarantee workers’ stop-work authority. First, the company will eliminate worries about disadvantages suffered by workers from invoking their stop-work authority by compensating for losses suffered by partners and rewarding workers. Next, it will make it easy for workers to promptly use their authority and receive details of how the safety issue has been dealt with by developing platforms for reporting such as social media, mobile applications, and a telephone hot line.

Also, to immediately deal with the reported hazard and give feedback when workers invoke their authority the company plans to operate an emergency safety team at each site. In addition, the company will enhance promotion, training, and campaigns in order to let workers use their authority as a natural right. Finally, at a corporate level, Samsung C&T E&C Group will establish common criteria and processes around stop-work authority. Also, it will officially conclude an agreement with a labor-management consultative body to institutionalize these criteria and processes by reflecting them in health and safety management rules.

Samsung C&T E&C Group has in fact already given its workers stop-work authority, and it was used 8,400 times last year. Now and in the future, this construction company is taking concrete and comprehensive steps to let its workers easily invoke stop-work authority.

Stop-work authority declaration ceremony at a Samsung C&T E&C Group construction site.

Mileage for unearthing hazards

There is a performance-based rewards scheme in which workers receive points for unearthing workplace hazards or suggesting safety improvement ideas. As construction sites become larger and more complex, this scheme serves the purpose of encouraging workers to participate in creating a safe environment, putting their safety first.

The High-tech Business Unit has been recognized as contributing to improving the overall level of on-site safety by actively operating such a scheme since 2018. Also in 2020, there were 360,000 hazard reports in total, a clear sign of workers’ active participation.

Prior declaration of high-risk work processes

By analyzing accidents that have occurred over the last 10 years, Samsung C&T E&C Group has selected several high-risk work processes. When these processes must be carried out, various experts from the company’s headquarters examine work plans in advance and supervise intensively until the work is finished.

There are certain jobs that need technical examination at a headquarters level: for example, assembling and disassembling scaffolds, excavation work, and installing and dismantling tower cranes. Before starting these operations, relevant departments must carry out technical examination and grant approval, as well as checks before, during, and after the job.

Other jobs need intensive oversight during execution: for example electrical work, frameworks, and cutting down trees. If a task is selected as a job that involves major potential risk at the technical examination and related meetings, safety measures must be established clearly and the job will be intensively supervised.

For tower crane and scaffold work, technical examination by headquarters is necessary.

Besides the specific examples cited above, Samsung C&T E&C Group exerts its utmost efforts to ensure that not even a small risk goes unnoticed by applying safety management methods from a variety of angles.

With the aim of effectively responding to risks that arise from variables in the conditions of construction tasks such as equipment, materials and construction methods, the group has developed a response process to cover 97 points when construction stages change. A dedicated quality safety execution support organization is already up and running, ensuring that these activities firmly take root at each work site.

Based on these institutional and systematic efforts, Samsung C&T will uncover unsafe elements or near-misses where fatal accidents have thankfully not occurred in order to prevent accidents in advance.

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