Samsung issued an apology yesterday for the tragic accident that occurred at its semiconductor plant in Hwaseong on January 28th. A hydrofluoric acid leak killed one worker while injuring four others. It is said that around 3 gallons of the acid leaked. The colorless poison damages the lungs and bones and eventually harms the entire nervous system. While the incident occurred around 11:00PM that night, Samsung failed to report it until 3:00PM the next day.
The five workers were dispatched to clean up the spill, which had leaked outside of the plant. The worker who died was not wearing a full hazmat suit or a gas mask. The other four were wearing hazmat suits, and gas masks, but still sustained damage from the exposure. They were hospitalized and have made a full recovery. Because of Samsung’s delay to report the leak, the company was fined $900 by the local law enforcement.
Kwon Oh-hyun, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, stated that the company will revoke its application for its Hwaseong plants to be certified as “green” operations, at least for another 5 years. Kwon also stated that they will make sure incidents like this are prevented in the future. He stated, “We plan to overhaul the system in a bid to better make environmentally-friendly workplaces.”
There were a total of seven people arrested for the incident. Three of the individuals were officials of Samsung Electronics. They were charged with negligence due to the fatal accident. Yonhap also reports that the semiconductor plant in Hwaseong was designated “green” by the government in 1998, dismissing them from any future government check-ups. The government is currently reviewing the application Samsung submitted back in August that would re-certify its “green” status.
[via Yonhap News]