The effectiveness of enforcement activities of the occupational safety program of Korea
This study investigates empirically the effects of workplace inspections on workplace safety after the legislation of Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1981 in Korea. The effects of inspections are measured by whether the inspections reduce (1) the lost workdays due to injuries (including deaths), and (2) the number of injuries (including deaths). The statistical technique employed is a cross-sectional regression analysis and the unit of analysis is "firm." The data were obtained by a survey from the population of the firms inspected once or more in 1985-1987 period. This study has found that the inspections have significant effects on the reductions of lost workdays and number of injuries. If a firm is inspected a day earlier in a year, the firm is expected to have 0.0413 percent fewer lost workdays (and 0.0362 percent fewer injuries) in the year on average. In the next year after inspection, there are no significant changes in both dependent variables. Instead, the injury level lowered by inspection remains at the reduced level in the next year after inspection (unfortunately, the effects of longer time-period could not be detected because of the limitation of data). This study has also tried to detect the possible differences in inspection effects across subgroups of firms when they are divided by their industries and firm sizes. However, it has been found that the effects of inspection do not significantly vary across subgroups either in the year of inspection or in the next year. To conclude, inspections have significant effects on the increase of workplace safety. The effects occur in the year of inspection and remain at least until next year. The magnitudes of the effects are estimated about 13 percent reduction of number of injuries and about 15 percent reduction of lost workdays in a year after inspection. The results suggest that, on average, an inspection saves 2.1 injuries and 196 lost workdays for the inspected firm in a year after inspection. Then, the level of injury remains at the reduced level at least for one more year.