Professional health managers take care of health and safety at workplaces

한정찬 기자l승인2020.05.20

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▲ Korea Association of Occupational Health Nurses / President Jeong Hye-sun

The Korea Association of Occupational Health Nurses was established in 1994 with a goal to promote health and safety of workers. It is a non-profit organization affiliated to the Ministry of Employment and Labor. 

The association protects rights of members, rewards long-term employed nurses, recommends industrial accident preventers, publishes RP materials, and runs 1004 mentor-mentee program alongside various seminars and international exchanges.

The association regularly organizes health and safety training and campaigns through various events. A number of MOUs has been signed between the association and Seoul Metropolitan City, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Korea Health Promotion Institute, and Korea Contact Center Association. 

Brining a change for the better

Taking the steering wheel of the association February 2015, president Jeong Hye-sun has endeavored to bring a change to the association for the better. Jeong is received as a veteran when it comes to prevention of industrial accidents among industry specialists and she is much credited for her 32 years of devotion to the field. 

Starting as a nurse at Samyoung Electronics in 1987, she pushed forward her career path to industrial health committee member of the Ministry of Employment and Labor, president of the Korea Academic Society of Occupational Health Nursing, health professor at Catholic University Graduate School of Public Health, president of the Korean Society of Construction Health, president of the Korea Safe Society Research, and director of the Bucheon Workers Health Center.

“Prevention is the cheapest and most effective way whether it is about health or safety” emphasizes Jeong.

The change she brought for the better now is resulted in 5,000 members, 350 staff, 9 branches and 22 sub-branches. 

Seoeun Scholarship Foundation

The association is a legal entity which can run training programs for health managers. Health managers are very important as they are the ones who manage health and hygiene of employees at workplaces. For this reason, they must take certain training and obtain certificates required. 

Alongside training programs for health managers, the association also provides manuals for workplace bullying, emotional labor management, work-stress management, counseling psychology, and Seoeun Scholarship Foundation which helps health managers carry on study without a worry about tuition fee. 

Embracing more sectors

Jeong expanded services of the association to construction and service industry from manufacturing. From no later than July this year, transportation industry will be included in the services and call centers and media workers are also expected to be added in the coming years.

She pushed forward expanding the number of the Workers Health Center which resulted in providing itinerant health care services for 27,000 small businesses as well as opening 22 Health and Safety Centers. 

“I think we need around 100 Workers Health Center to make things substantial. Unlike big companies, small business owners are hard to hire a health manager so an organization like us should help out through itinerant health care services.”

Currently, Jeong is working on turning temporary health managers to permanent for more systematic and professional services. It is expected that part timers and temporary workers will also be included in the health management services of the association while prevention programs for suicide and death from overwork are set to be introduced soon.

“The Korea Association of Occupational Health Nurses will keep working hard to protect rights of health managers and to promote workers health in workplaces. We are determined to bring more changes for the better with the general goal to minimize the numbers of industrial accidents.”


한정찬 기자  chan5150@naver.com
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