NGOs file complaints against SAMSUNG Heavy Industries,
TOTAL, TECHNIP, EQUINOR to OECD Korean, French, Norwegian NCPs
Press Conference of the NCP complaints (Source: Ohmynews)
SEOUL, South Korea, March 20, 2019 – The Samsung Heavy Industries Martin Linge Project Crane Accident Workers Support Team (hereinafter referred to as the “Worker Support Team”) and Korean Transnational Corporations Watch (hereinafter referred to as the KTNC Watch) have filed OECD NCP complaints against SAMSUNG Heavy Industries, TOTAL, TECHNIP, EQUINOR, to Korean, French, Norwegian National Contact Points, as the companies are legally registered in those countries.
In the complaint, the Workers Support Team and the KTNC Watch argue that the companies have failed to comply with Chapter (II) (III) (IV) of OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.
On May 1, 2017, during construction of a Martin Linge oil platform at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard, a Goliath crane and Jib tower crane collided. Officials reported that the accident killed six workers and injured 25 others. However, there were scores of additional casualties not included in the official statistics. At the time of the accident, more than 300 workers witnessed the accident and suffered from trauma resulting therein yet are not receiving nor have received any according treatment or support.
The NGOs believe the NCPs are committed, professional and accountable in formulating best practices of human rights remedial measures in the implementation and advancement of the OECD Guidelines policy and in harmony with the spirit of sustainable development and Human Rights.
The Summary of the complaint is attached.
Summary of the Complaint (Violation of the OECD Guidelines)
According to the investigating agency, it was revealed that SHI’s change in the work method was not only unusual but also was ordered without a prior risk assessment.
With the lack of safety measures and the inappropriate assignment of work, supervision basically constitutes the violations of the Korean Occupational Safety and Health Act. Also, these violate the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. If an existing and pre-approved work method is suddenly changed to an unusual and dangerous work method, it is imperative to establish appropriate safety measures such as risk assessments and to prepare safety regulations and procedures that reduce risk before adopting the new work method. In this regard, these practices constitute a violation of the general policies (II) A.10 and human rights articles (IV) 1 and 4 of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
TECHNIP, as the leader of the project consortium that was the recipient of the construction contract and directly supervised the engineering procedures, should have acknowledged the safety management or measures such as prior risk management before the decision of the changes of work method to the overlay of the cranes, if SHI had not been established the proper measures, it should have advised or ordered to have it. However, TECHNIP did not direct or suggest SHI to establish such measures, even though the change of construction method was very unusual and dangerous. In this regard, TECHNIP, directly and indirectly, violated the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (II) A.10, A.12, 13 and human rights policies (IV) 1 and 4.
When considering the common practices for shipbuilders and contractors in the general shipbuilding industry as well as the overseeing of barrier management, of which TOTAL is responsible for, it is necessary after work methods involving crane position changes are made to confirm whether safety regulations such as advance risk assessments have been prepared and executed. These are all matters of due diligence that during the course of the business relationship should have been followed up upon by TOTAL, who had the status and authority to carry out such actions. In this regard, TOTAL did not exert appropriate human rights due diligence. Thus, TOTAL violated the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (II) A.10, A.12, 13,. and human rights policies (IV) 1 and 4.
Complainants requested EQUINOR to disclose the Accident Investigation Report regarding this event. It is known that after the accident was occurred, Martin Linge Project independently made a report on the investigation report on the accident, and the Complainants considered the disclosure of this report is important to reveal the cause of the accident. Furthermore, EQUINOR as the current operator, it is reasonable to assume that EQUINOR had received all the relevant documents from the TOTAL when the operation right was transferred. However, EQUINOR not only rejected to disclose the report but also denied any further conversation on the issue any more.
EQUINOR’s such attitude clearly constitutes the violation of the Guidelines. Though the information requested by the Complainants was necessary to reveal the truth of the accident as well as to provide the remedy to the victimized workers, EQUINOR refused to disclose the information. In this regard, EQUINOR not only violated the disclosure chapter but also failed to exert the human rights due diligence. Thus, EQUINOR violated the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (II) A.10, A.12, 13, Disclosure (III) 1 and human rights policies (IV) 1 and 4.
Eunju Lee, Activist, MCGMAWHS, +82-10-3575-0489, firstname.lastname@example.org
Donghyun Kim, Attorney at Law, KTNC Watch, +82-364-1210, email@example.com