The Korea Herald


삼성반도체 불산누출 "매출은 일류 안전은 꼴찌" 질타

By KH디지털뉴스부공용

Published : Jan. 29, 2013 - 16:23

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경기 화성 삼성전자 화성 반도체 사업장에서 불산 가스가 누출돼 협력사 직원 1명이 사망하고 4명이 부상을 입는 사고가 발생했다.

세계일류 기업에서 근로자와 주변 지역주민의 안전을 고려하지 않아 비판을 받고 있다.

경기 화성 삼성전자 화성 반도체 사업장에서 불산 가스가 누출되는 사고가 27일 발견됐다. (연합뉴스) 경기 화성 삼성전자 화성 반도체 사업장에서 불산 가스가 누출되는 사고가 27일 발견됐다. (연합뉴스)

화성사업장은 130여명의 주민이 살고 있는 동탄신도시와 수원으로부터 약 4km 떨어진 지점에 위치해 있다.

삼성전자 불산 누출사고 발생시각과 유관기관에 신고된 시각과 사고조치에 소요된 시간 등이 확실하게 밝혀지지 않아 당국의 경위 파악에 혼란을 주고 있다.

삼성전자가 밝힌 화성사업장 11라인에서 불화수소희석액 공급장치에 이상 징후가 발견된 시각은 27일 오후 1시 22분이다. 50% 농도의 불산 용액이 배관을 통해 누출되면서 경보기 센서가 작동한 시간이다.

환경부 산하 한강유역환경청은 29일 오전 11시 55분께 누출 사고가 난 중앙화학물질공급시스템(CCSS)건물 안팎에서 물산 농도를 측정한 결과, 건물 내부 중심에는 0.2ppm, 누출지점 바로 아래에서 0.6ppm이 검출됐다고 밝혔다. 고용노동부가 정한 작업장 안전 기준은 0.5ppm이다.

“삼성전자 반도체 공장에서는 그동안 노동자 백혈병 발병 및 사망 사고 등 인재(人災)가 끊이지 않았는데, 다시 불산 누출이라는 사고가 발생했다”면서 “세계1등 기업이라는 삼성전자에서 세계 꼴찌 기업에서나 일어날 법한 사고가 발생한 것은 부끄러운 일”이라고 민주통합당 정성호 수석대변인이 서면브리핑에서 밝혔다. (코리아헤럴드)

<관련 영문 기사>

Samsung under fire for clumsy response to deadly chemical leak

By Kim Young-won

Samsung Electronics came under fire for its clumsy response to a toxic gas leak in its semiconductor line which killed one subcontract worker and injured four others on Monday.

The world’s largest technology company was accused of failing to take proper safety measures and even attempting to conceal the incident to minimize damage to its reputation.

The plant is located less than 4 kilometers away from Dongtan New Town in Hwaseong City and Suwon City, where 1.3 million residents in total live in both areas.

The world’s largest memory chipmaker allegedly delayed reporting the gas leak accident to police.

Some 2 to 10 liters of a 50 percent solution of hydrofluoric acid leaked at 1:22 p.m. Sunday, said police, quoting Samsung officials.

The repair work on the pipe whose safety valve was thought to be broken started at 11:00 p.m.

Samsung Electronics Co. and the subcontract maintenance firm did not report the leakage to the government of Gyeonggi Province nor properly plugged the holes in the pipe: they filled the cracks with a mere plastic bag before the repair work started. 

“(We) first judged the amount of leakage was infinitesimal, so plugged the hole with the plastic bag,” said Lee Jong-chae, director from the maintenance firm STI Co., Ltd.

The repair work ended at 4:59 a.m. on Monday, according to the police.

The five maintenance workers felt pains in their throat and chest in the morning and were brought to hospitals.

One worked surnamed Park was dead at around 1 p.m.

Samsung initially blamed the death on his violation of safety rules. The company said the deceased worker was exposed to the toxic chemical since he did not wear a chemical protection suit. But the bereaved family countered the claim, which then forced the company to later admit that he wore the gear.

“When the amount of the leakage was small, they did not wear the protection suits, but they wore them when the situation was getting worse,” said an uncle of Park, adding the family would not hold the funeral until the cause and circumstance of his death are confirmed.

The workers reportedly had to spend four more hours in ambulances being sent back and forth from hospital to hospital while Samsung was allegedly trying to hide the accident from reporters. 

The firm reported the death of the worker at 2:15 p.m. on Monday to the police and at 2:40 p.m. to the Gyeonggi Provincial Government.

The Ministry of Environment said any further leakage in nearby areas has not been detected.

The residents and people who live in other industrial areas in Korea are, however, worried about another possible chemical leak as the latest accident came close on the heels of other disastrous accidents last September in Gumi, in which five people were killed with 18 injured and thousands hospitalized; and one in Sangju on Jan. 12 in which a 200-ton aqueous solution of hydrochloric acid was leaked and 700 residents were evacuated.

The police said it would investigate to find the exact cause of the accident, and the Ministry of Environment pledged to conduct research if there is any chemical residue in the air.

The Gyeonggi Provincial Government also said it would see if there was any breach of laws in the operation of the plant and the repair work.

“Samsung apologizes for the concern it causes to the people and gives sincere condolences to the victim and his families. We will cooperate with the police in the investigation and come up with measures to prevent a similar accident from occurring,” said Jun Dong-soo, the president of the memory division of Samsung’s semiconductor business, through a press statement.

The electronics firm has been blamed for other allegations such as turning a blind eye to its workers in semiconductor lines who died of leukemia.