Samsung Heavy Industries has been ordered to halt the operation of its main plant in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province, following a series of deadly accidents caused by safety lapses.

According to the Ministry of Employment and Labour, Sunday, the 58-year-old labourer was killed when construction materials weighing 1.5 tonnes of H-beam steel from a crane fell on him at a Samsung Heavy shipyard in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province on Saturday morning.

The incident, first reported by Korea Times ( took place just a day after another employee was hit by a wire rope at the shipyard. The 43-year-old labourer was rushed to a nearby hospital, but was in a critical condition. A Samsung Heavy official said the shipbuilder will abide with the labour ministry’s suspension order and will do everything it can to prevent any safety incidents at its shipyards.

“The recent incidents are very unfortunate and we express our condolences to the bereaved family,” the official said. “We will take all possible measures to create an accident-free workplace.”

The official added “Since the incident, labourers have stopped work at Geoje shipyard.”

The following incidents are likely to tarnish the image of Korea’s third-largest shipbuilder as workers have been killed in similar incidents in the past.

Recall that in May 2017, another fatal accident had occurred at the same shipyard in which six people were reportedly killed and 25 others seriously injured after part of a crane fell on the employees working on a ship. Two cranes; one weighing 800 tonnes and another 60 meters long and weighing 32 tonnes collided causing a structure to fall from one of them.

“The incidents could have been prevented if the shipbuilder had complied with very basic safety measures,” a Solidarity for Worker’s Health official had said.

“Although Samsung Heavy has enough resources to invest in improving safety measures, it has been negligent in improving worksite conditions, leaving laborers at risk of another deadly accident.”

For the first quarter of this year, Samsung Heavy earned 1.45 trillion won ($1.25 billion) in sales, up 17.4 percent from a year earlier. The company posted an operating loss of 33.3 billion won, compared to a loss of 47.8 billion from the same period a year earlier.

Korea has one of the highest numbers of workers killed in industrial accidents among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

It was further gathered that in an average year, more than 1,000 workers are killed in accidents at their workplaces, and about 76 per cent of those deaths are of temporary workers.