Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in korea provoked by workers' collective compensation claims against work intensification

Dongmug Kang, Youngki Kim, Young Il Lee, Sangbaek Koh, Inah Kim, Hoonkoo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents the process of workers' problems with work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), the introduction of risk assessments (RA) for their prevention, and the consequences of this process in Korea. In 1997, economic crisis caused a rapid increase of massive layoffs, worker dispatch system introduction, job insecurity, and use of irregular workers resulting in work intensification. Work intensification increased WMSDs, which created massive workers' compensation collective claims. Workers argued for the reduction of work intensity. The RAs introduced as a consequence of the workers' struggle is unique in the world. Whereas these RAs were expected to play a pivotal role in WMSDs prevention, they dis not due to workers' lack of engagement after the compensation struggle. In fact, changes in the compensation judgment system and criteria have resulted in lower compensation approval rates leading to lower workers' compensation claims. The Korean experience provides insight into WMSDs causes in a globalized world. In such a the globalized world, work intensification as the result of work flexibility could be an international trend.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalAnnals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul 29


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this