Report: Samsung appoints panel to protect fab workers

June 16, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has appointed an ombudsman committee to monitor and report on workplace safety at its wafer fabs, according to a Korea Herald report.

The move was promised by Samsung in January 2016 and comes nine years after the death of Yu-mi Hwang, a Samsung semiconductor factory worker, who died from leukemia aged 22 on March 6, 2007.

Hwang's death was initially classified as a personal health matter but extensive investigation by her father revealed a number of similar deaths and unusual health conditions amongst Samsung wafer fab workers, which lobbyists asserted were related to the working conditions.

The three-member committee will consist of Lee Cheol-soo, the committee chief and a law professor at Seoul National University, Im Hyun-sool, a medical professor at Dongkuk University, and Kim Hyun-wook, a medical professor at Catholic University, according to the article.

Samsung has apologized to the families of some 200 workers who have contracted cancers but also denied responsibility for deaths and illnesses.

In July 2015 Samsung agreed to set up a 100-billion won (about $85 million) fund to provide support to victims and their families and to pay for preventative measures. And in January 2016 Samsung, agreed to establish the independent committee to monitor and report on working conditions.

These concessions came after the release in 2014 of a Korean feature firm "Another Promise" told the story of Yu-mi Hwang and 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.

Related links and articles:

www.samsung.com

Korea Herald article

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