School kid dies working apprentice program - South Korea

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DandyDon

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The case of a high school senior who drowned while participating in a student apprenticeship program has sparked an outrage, as safety rules were found to be loosely followed and eventually led to the student’s death.

A student surnamed Hong died in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, on Oct. 6 while taking part in his school’s apprenticeship program that started on Sept. 27. The school signed a contract with a yacht business in the area that allowed Hong to gain work experience at the company.

According to the Coast Guard, Hong died at around 10:40 a.m. while wearing scuba diving gear in order to remove barnacles under a yacht owned by the business. He did not have a scuba diving license and was reportedly instructed to go underwater by himself wearing an oxygen tank, flippers and a 12-kilogram lead belt offered by the company.

He was working 8.5 meters under water and died while working alone. Hong was the only person working for the business other than the owner of the company.

His death came into question as the contract the school and the yacht business signed for the apprenticeship program stated that Hong was not allowed to go underwater wearing scuba diving equipment.

He was in fact contracted to be a tour guide and provide meals for tourists.

Hong’s case further highlighted questions of whether students working taking part in work experience programs are given sufficient protection. The firm in contract with Hong’s school for the program is alleged to have broken rules and put Hong in danger, against the conditions of the contract.

Critics say that schools and regional education offices have not responsibly picked contracting businesses for apprenticeship programs, and worry that similar cases will arise if adjustments are not made.

The Ministry of Education vowed to come up with response measures to better address how work experience programs are run, announcing plans to set up an inspection team to dig deeper into the case and prepare measures to assure student safety.

The annual inspection of apprenticeship program management will be conducted sooner than scheduled, the ministry added.
 

Shasta_man

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Safety rules loosely followed?! The owner of the company himself strapped a 26 lb belt on a kid who wasn't scuba certified which likely meant no experience at all and sent him 28 feet deep UNDER his boat to scrape barnacles off his boat. Anyone who has owned something defined as a yacht in the ocean knows the general dangers involved as evidenced by the prices people who scrape off barnacles for a living charge to do it. Which is why he was having some kid doing it for free. I got that it costs money to run these things but geez, if you can't afford to maintain it, you can't afford to have it. Lots of focus on how this guy didn't follow the contract and how they need to fix that process but you killed somebody's son and it wasn't difficult to imagine that could happen.
 
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DandyDon

DandyDon

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Safety rules loosely followed?! The owner of the company himself strapped a 26 lb belt on a kid who wasn't scuba certified which likely meant no experience at all and sent him 28 feet deep UNDER his boat to scrape barnacles off his boat. Anyone who has owned something defined as a yacht in the ocean knows the general dangers involved as evidenced by the prices people who scrape off barnacles for a living charge to do it. Which is why he was having some kid doing it for free. I got that it costs money to run these things but geez, if you can't afford to maintain it, you can't afford to have it. Lots of focus on how this guy didn't follow the contract and how they need to fix that process but you killed somebody's son and it wasn't difficult to imagine that could happen.
Yeah, plus "the contract the school and the yacht business signed for the apprenticeship program stated that Hong was not allowed to go underwater wearing scuba diving equipment." In the US we'd be looking at manslaughter and a huge lawsuit. In Mexico there would be a fine. I wonder what can happen in Korea?
 

Johnoly

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.... strapped a 26 lb belt ....
We all know how typical newspaper reporting is prone to error, especially punctuation. I'm guessing there is a missing hyphen when 12 kg was written and should have been 1 - 2 kg.
 

Shasta_man

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@Johnoly Certainly possible but I was thinking that Korea could be cold water so maybe plausible. Though it might read that way, my point wasn't so much they weighed him down as they sent him down with no training.
 
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