With one of the fast-growing economies among developed nations – and one largely driven by industry and construction – South Korea faces occupational safety and health challenges similar to those in other countries.

“Korea has designated public safety as a national priority,” said Young Soon Lee, president of the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA). Lee spoke recently at the international A+A 2015 Trade Fair & Congress in Dusseldorf, Germany.

In her address to A+A attendees, Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Andres Nahles pointed out that Korea and Germany have some key OSH challenges in common, such as aging societies and the digitalization of the workplace. She credited KOSHA with helping to greatly reduce the occupational incident rate in Korea.

“Broken safety cultures cause occupational accidents, which means a technical approach alone is not enough for a decent mechanism of safety  and health management,” said Lee.

Chosen as the partner country for A+A 2015, the Republic of South Korea sent a large delegation that included experts who participated in the educational sessions as well as 46 exhibitors – up from 27 in 2013.

“High level decision makers in the  Korean government and Korean entrepreneurs are at A+A 2015 to share our ideas and thoughts at seminars and policy forums on a variety of issues, such  as the OSH market, regulations and safety certification systems, recent risk management methods and psycho-social  risks,” said Lee.

He noted that keeping an eye on the occupational safety and health “big picture” requires both  domestic efforts and international interactions aimed at figuring out solutions.

In this context, KOSHA, in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA) adopted the Seoul Declaration” in 2008 -- the country’s first safety and health charter, concentrating efforts on disseminating a “prevention culture” of safety and health.”

“This May, KOSHA successfully hosted the 31st International Congress on Occupational Health in Seoul, Korea, with 3,535 safety and health professionals from around the world,” said Lee. “Furthermore, we adopted the Seoul Statement on the development of occupational health services for all.”

Lee described A+A 2015 as “a venue to disseminate a great value; protecting the life and health of working people.”

The next A+A will be held from Oct. 17-20, 2017, in Dusseldörf, Germany. The biennial trade fair is staged by Messe Duesseldorf.