Korean authorities have for the first time recognised officially a case of work-related leukaemia resulting from exposures in a Samsung LCD factory.
The Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (COMWEL) ruled that Kim, a 33-year-old worker who was diagnosed with leukaemia after working for five years and seven months in a Samsung Display – formerly Samsung Electronics – LCD factory had contracted the illness in the course of his employment.
Although there have been earlier awards to workers in the company’s semiconductor factories, this is the first time that leukaemia contracted from working in an LCD factory has been recognised as an occupational disease. After conducting an epidemiological study of the factory, COMWEL determined that the illness was work-related, despite the low level of exposure to harmful substances.
“Considering the fact that Kim did not wear adequate protective gear and worked long hours, it is likely that he was exposed to carcinogens and harmful substances in greater concentrations than were found in the epidemiological study,” COMWEL wrote in the judgment.
“Working at Samsung Electronics was Kim’s first job, and taking into account the latency period for leukaemia and the fact that he received the diagnosis at the young age of 25, we acknowledge that there is a significant causal relationship between Kim’s leukaemia and his occupation.”