A college student was killed after a 300 kg (661 lbs) iron plate fell on him during his work hours. College student Lee Seon Ho (age 23) had worked as a part-timer at a container cargo terminal to earn money for his college tuition and living expenses.
On May 6th, one of his friends told a news media outlet, "He was a person who would comfort and encourage his friends telling us that we're still young and don't need to be so depressed about our future. I can't believe he's gone."
Earlier on this day, a press conference was held in front of the container cargo terminal in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, with more than 30 people attending including the Anseong branch of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the Justice Party, and the Progressive Party along with the college student's bereaved family and friends.
The late Lee Seon Ho was asked to clean foreign substances on the bottom of a container at 4:10 PM on the dock of Pyeongtaek Port on April 22. While cleaning, he was crushed by the back wing of an open container (FRC) weighing about 300 kg. Instead of immediately helping the college student, the managers tried to first report the incident to higher-ups. Lee Seon Ho was later taken to a nearby hospital but died.
Lee Seon Ho was a third-year college student who decided to work part-time in the warehouse and container unloading dock at Pyeongtaek Port to earn his tuition and living expenses after being discharged from the military. According to his friends, Lee Seon Ho was the type of person to encourage his friends despite the difficult circumstances.
The bereaved family delayed the funeral, demanding the truth be investigated as they believe that Lee Seon Ho's death was not due to an unavoidable accident but was a tragedy that could have been prevented in advance. The family believes that the accident was due to neglect of safety management. The family stated, "This was the first time Lee Seon Ho was given that task but there were no safety managers, or anyone overseeing the site. He also worked without any safety equipment being provided." The family is claiming that industrial accidents are typically caused by insufficient safety management. Some raised questions on whether the initial response to the accident was sufficient.
Lee Seon Ho's father, who appeared at the press conference, said, "A child was dying from being crushed by a heavy iron plate, but the managers at the scene prioritized reporting to the upper managers rather than calling 911. We will fight this to the end until we find out the cause of the accident and punish those who are responsible."
An industrial accident countermeasure committee has been formed in the name of the late Lee Seon Ho. The committee has demanded the recognition and apology for the responsibility for Lee Seon Ho's death, a thorough investigation by the Ministry of Labor leading to a proper punishment of those who are responsible, disclosure of the accident prevention investigation report from the service company at Pyeongtaek Port.
After hearing this news, many netizens are hoping the family finds closure and the deceased to rest in peace. Netizens commented, "This is so sad, we always see the articles on the medical student but not this," "Hope his family finds closure after getting to the bottom of this," "I think this article needs more exposure so that Korea does something about work safety," and "This is so sad. Hope he rests in peace."