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Worker killed as shipbuilding structure topples in HD Hyundai Heavy Industries

A shipbuilding structure weighing 9,000 tonnes came loose at South Korean shipbuilder HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) on the evening of 12 February, killing one and injuring another.

Today, South Korea's Ministry of Employment and Labor imposed a stop-work order on offshore structure block-related processes at HHI’s Ulsan yard and is investigating whether the country’s largest shipbuilder violated the Serious Accidents Punishment Act.

The accident is understood to have occurred around 6.50 pm local time on 12 February, while workers were moving the upper section of a 9,000-tonne floating production system. A steel block fell from the vessel, hitting the two workers below it.

HHI stated that the two workers were employed by a subcontractor, a specialist in moving heavy structures.

HHI said, “We pray for the well-being of the deceased and express our deepest condolences to the bereaved families who heard about the accident. After completing the preliminary inspection, it is believed that a part of the offshore structure collapsed due to unconfirmed reasons during the moving operation, and the exact cause of the accident is being investigated.

The company added, "We are actively cooperating with the investigation of related agencies such as the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the police to determine the exact cause of the accident."

The last fatal incident at HHI was in April 2022, when a worker, who was also hired by a subcontractor, was killed in an explosion while cutting steel plates with oxy-fuel gas.

HHI has suspended production across its facilities and has implemented an eight-hour safety training course for all staff to prevent serious accidents.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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