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South Korean electronics companies experience repeated noxious gas leaks

26 March 2013

According to the Yonhap news agency, Samsung Electronics Co. held a briefing for local residents in Hwaseong, on March 25 where it announced plans to improve safety measures. On January 28 a leak of hydrofluoric acid at the company's semiconductor plant in the town 60 kilometers south of Seoul. killed one worker and injured four others. 

In the briefing, Samsung Electronics said the company has taken steps to fix most of the areas in its facilities that were deemed inadequate by the environment and labor ministries.

Samsung said it plans to conduct detailed safety inspections on plant facilities as well as operate a 24-hour real-time monitoring system at the Hwaseong unit.

On March 21 a chlorine gas leak was recorded at chipmaker SK Hynix's plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.

No one was injured during the 30-second toxic gas leak, and the incident was reported to fire officials four hours after the leak after an anonymous tip-off.

"Because there was no one injured and it was a minor leak, we came to a conclusion that it did not need to be reported," the company said in an official statement.

On the same day a mixed acid leak was also reported  at LG Siltron’s Gumi plant, the company's second this month.

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea has asked firms to improve their responses and countermeasures to these incidents

Industry experts are say that one reason for these repeat accidents could be the weak cooperation between the conglomerates' subcontracting firms and the staff in their plants, as well as insufficient management and supervision of the factories.

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