South Korean authorities have found that exposure on chemicals at its computer chip and factories cause Samsung workers to get sick.
A worker-safety group and some are former semiconductor and LCD workers, has documented more than 200 cases of serious illnesses, such as leukemia, lymphoma, lupus and multiple sclerosis.
Unfortunately, 76 have died, most in their 20s and 30s.
Park Min-Sook, 43, a former Samsung chip worker and breast cancer survivor said, “In a situation where people’s lives are at stake, [Samsung] brought uninformed kids from the countryside and acted like money is everything, using them as if they were disposable cups,”
Hwang Yu-mi, a former Samsung factory worker who died of leukaemia at a very young age of 22, revealed by his father, Hwang Sang-Gi, that they’ve received 1 billion won ($914,000) in exchange for their silence.
Since 2008, 56 workers have applied for occupational safety compensation from the government. Only 10 have won compensation, half of the other 46 claims were rejected and half remain under review.
South Korea law bars governments and public agencies from withholding corporate information needed, Lim Ja-woon, a lawyer who has represented 15 sick Samsung workers said, “Our fight is often against trade secrets. Any contents that may not work in Samsung’s favour were deleted as trade secrets,”
Added that the law on occupational disease compensation also force Samsung to give workers the data they need to make claims, “to protect the lives, physical safety, and health” of individuals but there are no penalties for violations.
Samsung asked the government not to disclose details of chemical exposure levels and other inspections despite request of judges for use in workers’ compensation lawsuits.
In 2012, Samsung began monitoring some toxic byproducts in the air inspection and detected benzene and formaldehyde, both known carcinogens, to its chip factories.
Samsung: Pay compensation for the workers who died in your factories
More than 200 former Samsung factory workers contracted a wide variety of illnesses allegedly from chemicals they were exposed to, according to the Associated Press. Samsung reportedly withheld specific information about the exposures.
According to an unnamed worker safety group, there are more than 200 documented cases of former Samsung semiconductor and LCD workers contracting serious illnesses, which include the likes of leukemia, lupus, lymphoma, and multiple sclerosis. Out of those 200, 76 have died, with most of the dead ranging from 20 to 30 years of age.
In one case, a 22-year-old Samsung factory worker died of leukemia, with her dad alleging he was offered $864,000 to keep quiet about the circumstances of her death. Instead, he went on to launch a movement that calls for independent inspections of Samsung factories. In another case, a former Samsung chip worker is unable to hold a regular job because she was diagnosed with lupus. A third case talks about how a former Samsung display worker lost her eyesight after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
What made the documented cases worse is South Korea’s reluctance to give workers compensation for ailments they acquire at work. That reluctance turns into a near impossibility if the South Korean government does not receive any information regarding employees’ exposure to toxins, which is where the accusation that Samsung withholds such information comes in.
As for why Samsung is reportedly doing this, the company cited the need to protect its trade secrets, according to a separate AP report. It also does not hurt that the South Korean government does not penalize companies for withholding information needed “to protect the lives, physical safety, and health” of people on the basis of holding on to their trade secrets, even though the firms are technically prohibited from doing so.
Sources: Digital Trends, the Associated Press