Samsung has apologized over its part in the hydrofluoric acid leak
at one of its factories in January. The company has issued a public apology for the gas leak, which caused the death of one worker and the hospitalization of four others, and has vowed to prevent such an incident from occurring again in the future.
Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, in a statement received by the Yonhap News Agency
, stated that Samsung "plans to overhaul the system in a bid to better make environmentally-friendly workplaces," adding that the company will not apply for its Hwaseong plants to be certified as "green" operations for the next five years.
Hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic contact poison that will affect the nervous system when touched. Upon contacting a 25-square-inch area of skin the acid can cause death, with a risk of cardiac arrest from calcium metabolism interference for smaller doses. Typically, hydrofluoric acid is used for purifying stainless steel and for etching silicon wafers, both important to electronics manufacture.
Initially, it was claimed that workers covered the leak with a plastic bag, and was apparently "covering up" the incident for nearly 14 hours, until it was forced to report the incident to local authorities after the death of a maintenance crew worker. The incident is still being looked at by authorities, with seven people being investigated on charges of negligence.