Ventilation vent accidents leading to death, installation of notices and fences still insufficient

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A view of the installation of a guide sign to prevent accidents from falling through the ventilation vents. [사진제공=우리관리]

[아파트관리신문=조혜정 기자] On the 25th of last month, a 10-year-old child fell from an air vent in an apartment in Bukgajwa-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul.

While playing near the vent in the complex, the child could not beat the speed of running and bumped into the vent, and it was determined that the vent cover came off and fell 7m down. The child was rescued in about 30 minutes by the Seodaemun Fire Department rescue team who received the report.

The apartment in this case, which could have turned into a serious accident, was completed in 2012 and had a wall-type vent with a plastic cover over the vent projecting to the ground.

Regarding this case, experts said, “According to the guidelines for ‘ventilation design, construction, and maintenance’, wall-type ventilation holes are stipulated to withstand a load of about 100 kg in an area of ​​1 m × 1 m. It seems that it is far below the standard,” he pointed out.

Just my safety accident risk factors
Action must be taken immediately upon discovery

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport newly established the ‘Safety standards for ventilation openings’ item in the ‘Rules on facility standards for buildings, etc.’ in 2015 and revised the ‘Ventilation hole design, construction, and maintenance’ guidelines in 2018. This was to establish a standard after the accident at the ventilation vent in Pangyo-dong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, in 2014. At that time, citizens who climbed the vent to watch a performance fell under the vent, killing 16 people and injuring 11 others.

Also, at the same time, an accident occurred when a child playing at an apartment playground in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province, fell into an air vent and died. It is known that the residents of the apartment at the time testified that “it was dangerous from the beginning, but there was no safety device.”

If you look at the ‘safety standards for ventilation holes’ of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, ▲ ventilation holes must be installed at a height of at least 2 m from the floor, ▲ ventilation holes are installed on the wall, or ▲ structures that block access using safety fences or landscaping etc. I put the back high as an exception.

In addition, each local government inspected ventilation vents located within the jurisdiction, and installed blocking facilities in places where pedestrians frequently pass or posted notices to prohibit access. In addition, the plan is to strengthen the safety management of structures by strengthening the ventilation hole cover standards for existing ventilation holes used as pedestrian paths and installing grid-type intermediate supports under the cover. However, experts pointed out that ventilation holes installed before 2015, when the regulations were made, are not subject to application, and said, “It is urgent to prepare a more compact and realistic system.”

An apartment management company official also said, “It is important to take action immediately when there is a risk of safety accidents in the apartment complex. should be done,” he emphasized.

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