Samsung Electronics has come under fire from family members of employees, accusing the South Korea-based OEM of being responsible for poisoning its workers.
The information comes courtesy of an investigative report from Associated Press's Youkyung Lee. The report also details that a safety group for workers has managed to document more than 200 cases of serious diseases in ex-employees who were deployed in the company's LCD and semiconductor factories.
According to the report, family members of Samsung employees have disclosed that nearly 76 officers have died due to exposure to poisonous chemicals. These toxic chemicals are used when producing gadgets for the tech company.
The documentation reveals that Samsung employees as young as those in their 20s and 30s fell victim to illnesses such as lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, lupus and leukemia as a result of exposure to the harmful chemicals while working in the factories.
Even though Samsung employees have died due to the hazardous environment in its factories, the company is reportedly not forthcoming with information to employees as it will compromise its trade secrets.
Moreover, affected employees seeking a compensation from the South Korean government are unable to make any headway, as the government is allegedly making things difficult for the affected employees. Additionally, the government is also being accused of permitting Samsung to withhold details on the toxic exposure from its employees.
Reportedly, the father of a 22-year-old Samsung employee was offered 1 billion won, which is equivalent to $864,000, if he does not pursue the case. His daughter, however, died due to leukemia. Another ex-employee shared that she lost her vision post being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The worker revealed that the company did not bother to educate the factory employees on the dangers of certain chemicals so that they could be more vigilant.
A worker in Samsung's chip manufacturing unit who developed breast cancer protested that Samsung "brought uninformed kids from the countryside and acted like money is everything, using them as if they were disposable cups."
This is not the first time Samsung has been accused of deplorable work practices. In January 2013, a hydrofluoric acid leak occurred in one of the company's plants. The incident resulted in the death of an employee. While the South Korean government started an inquiry into the incident and its alleged "cover-up" — because Samsung did not report it until after 10 hours — the company was eventually only fined for inaction.
In light of the current accusations, representatives from Samsung assert that the company is not withholding any detail illegally and is complying with any judicial decision. Samsung also stresses that employees' safety is its utmost priority.