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Samsung yields to improve wafer fab working conditions

Posted: 14 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Samsung Electronics? cancer? working condition? wafer fab?

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd has made a concession to the families of scores of workers and former employees who have died of cancers over the last decade.

It has agreed to help set up an independent committee that will be able to inspect its semiconductor facilities, according to reports.

The families have argued for a decade that it was the unsafe use of dangerous chemicals in semiconductor wafer fabs that caused the anomalous clusters of illnesses and deaths. Samsung has apologised to the families but has also denied responsibility for the deaths and illnesses.

In 2014 a Korean feature film "Another Promise" told how Yu-mi Hwang, a worker at a Samsung semiconductor factory in Gi-Heung, south of Seoul, died from acute myeloid leukaemia aged 22 on March 6, 2007, four years after starting work. It also tells the story of her taxi-driver father Sang-gi Hwang who believed that chemical exposure at an unautomated wafer cleaning station caused her death and campaigned to get Samsung to take responsibility.

On Tuesday (Jan. 12, 2016) Samsung, agreed to establish the independent committee to monitor and report on working conditions. This comes after the company agreed in July 2015 to set up about $83 million fund to provide support to victims and their families and to pay for preventative measures, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report quoted a Samsung statement as saying: "Samsung will faithfully implement proposed improvements from the Ombudsman Committee and remains fully committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for our valued employees."

In a case brought to trial in 2011 Samsung was ordered by court in Seoul to pay compensation to the families of two young employees who died of leukaemia. The two women reportedly worked on a wafer cleaning station where benzene had been used.

Samsung has received more than 150 applications for support since setting up its fund, the report said.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times Europe

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