56th Samsung factory worker dies of blood-related illness

Posted on : 2012-06-05 13:16 KST Modified on : 2012-06-05 13:16 KST
Electronics giant still noncommittal about both culpability and compensation
 a watchdog for semiconductor workers’ health and human rights
a watchdog for semiconductor workers’ health and human rights

By Heo Jae-hyun, staff reporter

Yoon, 31, a former worker at LCD panel factory of Samsung Electronics, who suffered from a severe aplastic anemia, passed away, at 9:56 pm, June 2.

“Yoon is the 56th victim to die from blood related disease after working at the manufacture line of Samsung Electronics,” said a statement from Banolim, the organization for the semiconductor workers’ health and human rights.

Yoon started making screen display devices at Cheonan factory during her last year at Kunsan Vocational High School in June 1999. After 5 months at the factory, she broke down while working and was diagnosed with a severe aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia is a kind of a blood disease where red and white blood cells and blood platelets decrease as the function of marrow cell declines and marrow tissues are replaced by fat. Its causes are similar to those of blood cancer.

While working at the factory, Yoon’s duties were cutting the screen panels for display devices. “When Yoon was alive, she testified that when she cut the panels, she would smell sour chemicals on the surface. When cut, shards of glass from the panels would fly all over,” said Banolim.

When Yoon started at the Samsung factory, her blood was clear and she had no history of disease. Yoon left the factory in December 1999 after falling ill. For the next 13 years she relied on blood transfusions to stay alive. From May 2011, as her condition worsened, she received regular treatment at Seoul St. Mary‘s Hospital. Yoon’s family was preparing a claim for medical expenses with the Korean Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service.

“It’s unfortunate that Yoon passed away young but we cannot determine if the death is directly related to the work yet. We will react with sincerity when the family claims compensation,” said a person from Samsung.

Translated by Kim Ji-seung, Hankyoreh English intern>

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