SK to compensate employees with work-related leukemia

November 25, 2015


SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korea’s No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. said Wednesday it plans to compensate employees suffering from what they claim is an occupational disease, although clear links to the working environment have not been found.

The announcement came around a year after the company launched a committee composed of seven non-corporate experts, who SK hynix said were selected without intervention on its part.

“It was fundamentally difficult to find a relationship between the working environment at our chipmaking facilities and work-related diseases,” SK hynix said. “But as a part of our social responsibility, we will support and give compensation to all patients who suffer from such diseases.”

The chipmaker added it will establish a new committee that will be in charge of details for the compensation.

The scope and size of the aid also have not been decided. An industry source said 39 applicants have made claims so far to SK hynix’s health consultation center.

South Korean chipmakers, including Samsung Electronics Co., have come under fire over the past few years amid the rising speculations that their working environments may be fatal to workers.

Controversy over the cause of and companies’ responsibility for workers’ illnesses such as leukemia has been growing since Hwang Yu-mi, a former employee at Samsung’s chip-making facilities in Giheung, just south of Seoul, died from leukemia in 2007.

Her family has claimed that she contracted cancer because of her exposure to lethal chemicals at the chip-making facility in Giheung, where she worked before becoming ill.

Earlier in November, Samsung Electronics said that it has compensated some 50 workers since September this year.

The Protector of Health and Human Rights of Semiconductor Workers (SHARP), an advocacy group representing the victims who fell ill or died while working at Samsung’s plants, claims that around 200 staff are suffering from work-related diseases. The figure has not been officially verified.