Samsung pledges full investigation and changes following fatal gas leak at Korean plant

Samsung pledges full investigation and changes following fatal gas leak at Korean plant

Samsung has today issued an apology and pledged to commission a full investigation after a gas leak at one of its semiconductor plants in Korea caused one fatality and left four other workers injured.

In the note  — which was published to the company’s Korean blog [Google Translate] — Jeon Dong Su, a co-president of Samsung Electronics, apologizes to the families affected and confirms that there will be an investigation led by a third-party to determine exactly what happened.  Necessary measures will be taken to prevent a re-occurrence of the tragedy, he states.

Samsung was criticized for being slow to provide details of what happened. The firm is the subject of an investigation itself as authorities seek to determine whether it violated laws by failing to report the issue more promptly, The Verge reported.

News of the incident, which took place late Sunday evening at a chip-making facility in Hwaseong, broke out via local media on Monday. The accident is said to have involved the leakage of hydrofluoric acid gas from a company pipeline as workers performed maintenance.

Local broadcasters reported that the pipeline had initially melted, leaking the fatal gas. However, the pipeline is also said to have leaked a second time, affecting those that were already working to contain the initial incident.

Samsung confirmed the leak yesterday and issued a brief statement: “A small amount of diluted hydrofluoric acid leaked early Monday morning during maintenance at one of the gas and chemical supply systems at the Hwaseong site.”

This isn’t the first that the quality of Samsung’s manufacturing centers has come under pressure. The company ran internal reports in China following claims of poor working conditions and child labor. Unlike rivals such as Apple, the Korean firm users its own manufacturing operations, rather than outsourcing to partners.

Hat tip @hyunners, headline image via sweetlabs / Flickr

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