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Tumour as industrial accident: Court favours Samsung ex-workers

Posted: 13 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:industrial accident? benzene? lead? brain tumour? anaemia?

Seoul Administrative Court recognised brain tumour as industrial accident, favouring two Samsung Electronics ex-workers in a ruling released on Nov. 7, reported Business Korea.

Suits had been filed by the family of Lee Yoon-jung who lost her battle against a malignant brain tumour in 2012, and Yoo Myung-hwa who is diagnosed with aplastic anaemia. The plaintiffs claimed that the diseases constituted an industrial accident.

The court said that continuous exposure at work to harmful chemicalsincluding benzene, lead and formaldehydeand extremely low-frequency magnetic fields led to the plaintiffs' contraction of the diseases.

The progress of the diseases picked up as the workers themselves suffered from fatigue accumulation and significant stress during their work, directly affecting their immune systems, the court explained.

The court addressed two similar malignant blood disease cases of previous Samsung employees in August, saying that the leukemia could be regarded as having a strong association to the claimants' contact to harmful chemicals such as benzene.

Such threat has to be regarded as in existence if the disease rate of workers is greater than that of the normal people, according to Baek Do-myung, a professor at the Graduate School of Public Heath of Seoul National University, in support of the court's explanation.

Baek has conducted extensive research on the danger of semiconductor plants in 2009 at the request of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. He said that failure to detect any carcinogen at present does not follow that the substance has not been present in the past, especially when the concept of carcinogen control is absent.

The battle between Samsung and dozens of its former employees has been persisting for some time now, with the assertion that the spate of malignant diseases has a direct link to unsafe working conditions at its production plants.

Aside from Samsung, LG Display, SK Hynix and Seoul Semiconductor are in hot water over occupational disease claims. On Oct. 28, 19 workers and relatives of ex-staffers who were stricken with incurable diseases while they were employed in the companies filed for industrial accident compensation. (Read entire report here: South Korean ex-workers file for industrial disease claims)

There have been a total of 67 applications filed since June 2007, with more than 200 people contracting deadly ailments while in employmentincluding haematological cancer, brain tumours, breast cancer, and acute renal failureBusiness Korea quoted Banolim, an organisation representing semiconductor manufacturing workers.

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