Samsung Apologizes For Worker Death Caused By Hydrofluoric Acid Leak

Samsung has apologized publicly for a workers death caused by a hydrofluoric acid leak at one of its factories. The accident occurred in January, and the gas leaked caused the death of one workers and the hospitalization of four other employees.

Samsung has since promised to better monitor its operations to avoid further accidents and deaths in the future.

Hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic contact poison that attacks the nervous system when it comes in contact with the body. If the substance contacts a 25-square-inch area of skin the acid cause cause death. The substance is also known to cause heart attacks by interfering with calcium metabolism.

The dangerous substance is used to purify stainless steel components and to etch silicon wafers.

According to an initial report Samsung workers covered the leak with a plastic bag for almost 14 hours. The leak was not reported to local authorities until a crew worked died from the deadly gas.

Seven workers have been arrested and are now being investigated for their part in the leak and subsequent cover up. If found guilt the workers could be charged with negligence.

Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun tells the Yonhap News Agency that Samsung “plans to overhaul the system in a bid to better make environmentally-friendly workplaces.”

Because of the leak, Samsung will not apply for its Hwaseong plant to be certified as a “green” operation for at least five years. The Hwaseong plant was certified as “green” in 1998. Because of its green status, government workers did not regularly check the plant for safety violations.

Samsung was fined 1 million Korean won (around $900USD) for not reporting the incident in a timely fashion. Further fines and lawsuits may be filed by Samsung’s workers and the family of the slain worker.

Do you think reparations should be paid by Samsung given the initial cover-up and overall safety issue?

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