LONDON – Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has commissioned an independent study of health and safety at its semiconductor factories, according to an Associated Press report. The move comes after lobbyists mounted a campaign that highlighted clusters of cancer illnesses and deaths and demanded compensation from Samsung for affected workers and their families.
The study is set to take one year and will be conducted by an independent team of occupational health and safety experts led by Environ International, the report said quoting a company statement. No indication was given as to the likely cost of the study.
The lobbying groups include: the Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational Accident Victims (ANROAV), Supporters for the Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPs), which is part of the Korean Institute of Labour Safety and Health (KILSH) and the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU).
A lawsuit was filed in January, against a South Korean government agency which claimed that incidences of leukemia and lymphoma were caused by exposure to radiation and benzene in Samsung wafer fabs, the report said.
Samsung a leading manufacturer of consumer electronics, mobile phones, and the ICs and displays that go in them, has always denied responsibility for such deaths as there have been. It has denied using benzene and said that past studies have found no correlation between working conditions and employee illnesses. According to a Reuters
report the chip production lines where some of the employees worked and later
developed illnesses have been converted into chip test lines and
light emitting diode production lines.
"We have assembled a group of well-respected international experts to ensure this is an objective and transparent review," the report quoted Cho Soo-in, president of Samsung's memory division, as saying in the statement. "We want to ensure this process addresses any questions about the safety of our semiconductor manufacturing facilities." Samsung said the review would be conducted in consultation with experts from academic institutions including the Harvard University School of Public Health, the report added.
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