Ex-Samsung worker wins industrial accident claim

A former Samsung employee has won a case against the company after Korea’s workers’ compensation agency acknowledged industrial accident status.

The 37 year old retired worker,known only as “Kim”, developed a disease known as aplastic anemia, which she blamed on the four year working conditions at the company’s semiconductor plants.

Aplastic anemia is a condition in which bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells. Some medics believe that the disease could be related to exposure with toxins such as benzene.

Kim complained to Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service, which approved the  industrial accident status.

However, the ruling is more than a triumph over the company. According to the Korea Joongang Daily, it is also the first time that the Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service acknowledged an industrial accident.

Since 2007 it has rejected 18 similar claims by former Samsung employees, and currently reviewing three.

“There is the likelihood that Kim was indirectly exposed to organic solvents that included benzene,” the agency said in a statement.

It said that analysing Kim’s blood at the time of her retirement, found there were already symptoms that showed anemia and a decrease in blood cells.

Kim worked for a year at Samsung’s Giheung plant in Gyeonggi and four years and five months at the company’s factory in Onyang, South Chungcheong.