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Occupational Safety and Health
for the rights of workers and victims
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Second Cambodian factory collapse injures 23 workers who produce clothes for H&M

Second Cambodian factory collapse injures 23 workers who produce clothes for H&M | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
A COLLAPSING structure injured 23 workers Monday at a Cambodian factory producing garments for fashion brand H&M, police said, the latest incident to raise concerns about regional industrial safety.
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Amelia's curator insight, May 24, 2013 9:46 AM

Again, safety really matters. Following the incident in Bangladesh, now there is another factory collapse in Cambodia. It raises a concern of the safety of garment workers, especially in Asia. I think H&M should reconsider its factory safety system. 

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Indonesia mine rescue continues

Indonesia mine rescue continues | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
Rescue work continues at a US-owned mine in Indonesia's Papua province after a tunnel collapse killed four and left more than 20 others trapped.
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China coal mine explosion kills 12

An explosion at a coal mine in China's south-west Guizhou province kills 12 miners and injures two others, state media report.
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Regional Occupational Accident and Disease Rights’ Network Commemorates 20th Anniversary of Kader Factory Fire May 10 | Asia Monitor Resource Centre

 On the heels of Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster to date—a building collapse that has claimed the lives of more than 380 workers—survivors of last year’s Tazreen fire in Bangladesh, other workers injured on the job and safety rights activists will hold a press conference on May 10 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Kader factory fire in Thailand, which killed 188 workers, most of them young women. Speakers will reflect on the 1993 tragedy and the dismal state of occupational health and safety in Asia two decades later. The Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC) will present a new legal resource handbook for practitioners working to obtain compensation and justice for sick and injured workers.

 

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ANROEV conference 2013 | Asia Monitor Resource Centre

ANROEV conference 2013 | Asia Monitor Resource Centre | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it

 The Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV) is a coalition of victims’ groups, trade unions and other labor groups committed to the rights of victims and health and safety at the workplace. The 1993 industrial disasters of Kader and Zhili, which killed more than 250 workers in Thailand and China, led to a campaign by the labor and victims groups in Asia towards better health and safety rights of the workers and the victims

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Dozens dead in Bangladesh building collapse

Dozens dead in Bangladesh building collapse | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it

At least 22 people have been killed and many more are feared dead after an eight-storey building collapsed in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

A massive rescue mission is now underway as officials said on Wednesday that as many as 100 people were still trapped in the rubble.

Only the ground floor of the Rana Plaza in the Savar district, which also housed a garment factory, remained intact, said the officials.

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Dhaka, who is not being named for security reasons, described the scene as being chaotic.

"It is a scene of complete mayhem and chaos, hundreds of people are trapped under the rubble and a still being pulled out," she said.

"Many people are feared dead," said Abul Bashar from fire service, adding that the military has been called in to help the rescue effort.

Personnel at Enam Medical College told the AFP that at least 35 people had been admitted to the hospital with injuries.

A further 150 people, most of them garment workers, received first aid at the hospital without being formally admitted.

Local police chief M Asaduzzaman told said that the situation was "disastrous and at least 100 people are feared trapped."

 

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Justice sought for Eton tragedy victims

http://vimeo.com/channels/osh/

 

“We have brave clients. They deserve brave lawyers”
Atty. Romeo Capulong
1935 - 2012

Last January 2011, a work accident took the lives of ten workers at the Eton Residences construction site at Makati, Philippines. They were underpaid, one was a minor, and the gondola they were riding on
had no permit -- yet two years later, justice remains elusive for the victims of the tragedy. Their families, however, do not lose hope as they continue to struggle against an immensely powerful and wealthy enemy.

Who dared to take a stand with them?

Attorney Remigio “Meng” Saladero is one such lawyer. Born and raised in southern island of Mindanao, Atty. Meng witnessed the atrocities in his hometown during the Martial Law years and decided to take up the
people’s cause through lawyering. A human rights defender at first, Atty. Meng moved on to serve workers, arguing that labor rights are human rights.

Handling hundreds of cases, along with those of the Eton accident, Atty. Meng emphasizes the need for more volunteers in the pro-labor practice and the rewards of serving the oppressed. As the Eton victims’ main counsel, he proves that he is a defender of those who are willing to defend themselves. Against a system that voraciously consumes time and money -- resources that the marginalized cannot afford --  he asserts that the people’s unity ultimately tips the scales of justice in favor of the oppressed.

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Samsung Receives Slap On The Wrist For Fatal Chemical Leaks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBu9i8MiEuQ On Feb. 27, 2013, the South Korean police released CCTV footage of hydrofluoric acid gas leaks at Samsung. The leaks, caused on Jan. 27-28 by gaskets that were in use beyond replacement time, killed one worker and injured four. The chronic safety negligence that led to chemical leaks, and ensuing cover-ups of the incidents that resulted in one death and four injuries, were not sufficiently serious for the South Korean government to pursue criminal charges against top executives at Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. On Feb. 27, the South Korean police said it would criminally charge seven individuals for negligence in the hydrofluoric acid leaks of Jan. 28-29 at a Samsung chip plant in Hwaseong, about 70 kilometers south of Seoul. Among the seven individuals, a 34 years old contract worker identified by his last name of Park, died of exposure to the leaks. The other six include three employees of STX, Samsung’s contractor, and three mid-level managers of Samsung. The negligence charges were indeed a slap on the wrist, given that the world’s largest semiconductor maker has been not only routinely violating safety regulations but also been aggressively covering up its run-ins with the law. Following are new findings collected from the police’s announcement and media reports: New Fact 1. Samsung Used Key Components Past Expiration Dates The police pointed to the neglected seals and old gaskets of the gas tank as reasons for the first leak on Jan. 28. The gaskets had been used and reused past their scheduled replacement dates. The second leak was preventable, according to the police, had new seals between the tank and the pipe been completed by the workers. A simulation test by the police put the amount of leakages at a maximum of seven liters per hour during the first leak on Jan. 28. The government could not estimate the volume of the second leak for lack of data; a gauge collecting data of gas flows had been out of order. Poorly maintained equipment and rushed repairs are commonplace at Samsung. Many occupational disease victims profiled by SHARPS said machines in a state of disrepair posed constant hazards. New Fact 2. Samsung Released Fatal Gas Out Of Its Factory The police confirmed earlier unattributed press reports that on Jan. 28, around 6:00am, Samsung and STX workers used huge ventilation fans to remove hydrofluoric acid leaks from the central chemical supply system, or the CCSS, where leaks took place. Samsung has to date denied the fatal gas had filtrated through the CCSS. A group of environmental volunteers found residue of hydrofluoric acid in the soil around the Hwaseong plant, which is ringed by housing compounds. New Fact 3. Samsung Effectively Turned Off Sensor Alarm According to the police, though the sensor in the CCSS was fully functional during the leaks, the volume of its alarm was reduced to inaudible levels. Samsung allowed STI employees to replace the corroded gaskets on Jan. 27 at 2:11pm, about four hours after the contract workers requested a replacement from a Samsung supervisor. It wasn’t until 6:08pm, about 16 hours after the leak, when a Samsung security officer showed up at the CCSS. On March 15, a multi-agency taskforce will announce its findings.
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Those Were the Years, When I Was at Foxconn 那些年, 我在富士康

The video is an interview of a young female former Foxconn worker's work and resistance at the mold production shop floor. She tells having entered Foxconn w...
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Samsung labour practices under scanner in France

French rights and consumer protection organisations have filed a legal complaint against South Korea's Samsung Electronics over working conditions at its plants in China.
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

A trio of French rights and consumer protection organisations said on Tuesday that they had filed a legal complaint against South Korea's Samsung Electronics over working conditions at its plants in China. 
The groups, Peuples Solidaires, Sherpa and Indecosa-CGT, accused Samsung of deceiving consumers by violating its own promises on ethical working conditions and using child labour.

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Soil Pollution Is a State Secret in China

Soil Pollution Is a State Secret in China | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
The Chinese government is more open about water and air pollution but reveals little about soil pollution
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[Indonesia] Five dead, two critical in workplace tragedy

Five workers died with two others left in critical condition following an accident in an under-construction septic pit at the Manhattan Square construction site in South Jakarta on Tuesday. The tragedy was the latest in a series of fatal workplace accidents in the city. The police’s preliminary inquiry suggests that the victims appeared to have died after inhaling poisonous fumes inside the pit. Police said that six of the men were trying to help a colleague who had fallen into the pit, which is located in the building’s basement.
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Jahleel Hilton's curator insight, March 5, 8:29 PM

You really could not imagine a more disgusting way to die! I have visited Indonesia various times over the last 5 years and with little knowledge about OHS procedures it became very obvious to me that the national standards were very low. For those who have also been to Indonesia, I'm sure you would have the same opinion on this while passing by some of the construction sites. DANGEROUS is the only word I can think of.  I wonder why they do not make workplace safety a priority in their country?  Isn't it in their best interest to look after their people and ensure they are building adequate foundations?

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safety of labourers

safety of labourers | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it

The directorate general of mines safety (DGMS) is readying to crack the whip on 26,000 mines in Rajasthan which have not intimated it of start of operations since they have been functioning. Of the 30,000 odd mines registered with the mining department, less than 4000 have submitted ‘form 1’ to the DGMS, which brings on record the mine owner and labourers employed in it. This far-reaching decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the chief secretary of Rajasthan on Monday, in the light of silicosis victims unable to claim compensation, sheerly out of not knowing whom they work for. “It was agreed that the mining department will provide us with a list of all mine leases registered with it.

 

We will be issuing notices to all 26000-odd mines which are not on our list, starting with those in the silicosis prone districts. As the number of mines and hence paperwork and cost implications are large, we are thinking of publishing an advertisement in prominent dailies to inform mine owners both about submission of form 1 and commencement of wet drilling that can prevent silicosis,” said D.K Saxena, director of mines safety, DGMS speaking toDNA. Trouble awaits those mine owners who do not comply within a period of three months. “We will issue prohibitory orders to these mines and with the cooperation of the mining department”

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Garment Factory Collapse in Cambodia: At Least 3 Dead, 10 Injured and More Unaccounted For

Only hours after international brands signed onto the Bangladesh Building and Fire Safety Agreement, a building collapse at Asics supplier, Wing Star Shoes Co. Ltd has claimed the lives of at least 3 Cambodian garmentworkers, injured at least 10 and left many more unaccounted for.

The Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) would like to send its utmost condolences to the families of deceased workers at Wing Star Shoes Co. Ltd and condemn the absolute lack of responsibility that now typifiesthe Asian garment industry. 

According to shipping data, Asics has received 148,641 lbs of product from Wing Star Shoes Co. Ltd since October of last year. Asics claim they "respect the fundamental human rights of all persons in all of [their] corporateactivities," yet workers at Wing Star Shoes Co. Ltd were not guaranteed their most fundamental right of all – their right to life.

We bring to the attention of Asics, the Garment Manufacturers’ Association of Cambodia and the Royal Cambodian government that you are obliged to act immediately.

We demand that Asics take responsibility for their failure to ensure the safety workers within their supply chain; to immediately send a representative to Cambodia and ensure medical treatment and compensation for the victims; and to ensure the safety of the remaining workers in this factory and others.  

We demand that the Garment Manufacturers’ Association of Cambodia and the Royal Cambodian government conduct a full and transparent investigation into this incident and ensure occupational health and safety within all Cambodian garment factories. 

International brands now make comparisons between the region's garment industries based upon the amount of lives lost therein. This is absolutely unconscionable and will not be tolerated. We demand immediate action.

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"Enough is Enough": Labor Rights Advocates Call for Change Over Mounting Death Toll in Bangladesh

"Enough is Enough": Labor Rights Advocates Call for Change Over Mounting Death Toll in Bangladesh | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
'Events of the last eight months have clearly demonstrated a complete failure of the CSR [corporate social responsibility] and hollowness of the 'self-regulatory' standards and industry audits that manufactures and brands have been adopting,' said ANROEV in a statement issued as the group gathered for its 13th annual meeting. 'ANROEV members also express their deep outrage at the colossal loss of life, which is now unprecedented by any scale. Fire and structural safety of the buildings is the basic right that workers in Asia rightfully deserve,' said ANROEV in its statement. 'Enough is enough. Stop these murders at workplaces in Asia.'
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Regional Occupational Accident and Disease Rights’ Network Commemorates 20th Anniversary of Kader Factory Fire May 10 | Asia Monitor Resource Centre

 On the heels of Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster to date—a building collapse that has claimed the lives of more than 380 workers—survivors of last year’s Tazreen fire in Bangladesh, other workers injured on the job and safety rights activists will hold a press conference on May 10 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Kader factory fire in Thailand, which killed 188 workers, most of them young women. Speakers will reflect on the 1993 tragedy and the dismal state of occupational health and safety in Asia two decades later. The Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC) will present a new legal resource handbook for practitioners working to obtain compensation and justice for sick and injured workers.

 


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Regional Occupational Accident and Disease Rights’ Network Commemorates 20th Anniversary of Kader Factory Fire May 10 | Asia Monitor Resource Centre

 On the heels of Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster to date—a building collapse that has claimed the lives of more than 380 workers—survivors of last year’s Tazreen fire in Bangladesh, other workers injured on the job and safety rights activists will hold a press conference on May 10 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Kader factory fire in Thailand, which killed 188 workers, most of them young women. Speakers will reflect on the 1993 tragedy and the dismal state of occupational health and safety in Asia two decades later. The Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC) will present a new legal resource handbook for practitioners working to obtain compensation and justice for sick and injured workers.


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Many trapped in Bangladesh building as toll climbs to 175

Many trapped in Bangladesh building as toll climbs to 175 | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it

At least 175 mainly women workers were killed in a Bangladesh building collapse and rescuers searching for survivors said on Thursday that many more were trapped in the rubble of a complex that housed factories supplying Western clothes retailers. 
The disaster, which comes five months after a factory fire that killed more than 100 people, could hurt Bangladesh's reputation as a source of low-cost goods and call attention to European and North American companies that buy products there. 

 

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validosoftware's curator insight, April 26, 2013 10:45 AM

Around 2,000 people have been rescued over the past two days, at least half of them injured, but as many as 1,000 people remain unaccounted for.

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Deaths feared in huge Texas blast

Deaths feared in huge Texas blast | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
A huge explosion at a fertiliser plant near Waco in the US state of Texas destroys dozens of houses and causes many casualties.
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The Diseased City

OSH Conditions of Occupational Health and Safety in Faisalabad, Pakistan

Film by Ammar Aziz

While crossing the ugly, narrow streets one finds countless small, wooden doors, almost on every wall. They are sometimes locked from the outside, but you can hear a continuous, disturbing noise echoing from these rooms. This haunting noise is the outcome of those power looms that run with the sweat and blood of tens of thousands of workers. If you dare to enter any of the small rooms, you would feel as though you have entered a machine.

The noise levels created by machines remain way too higher, crossing all the maximum limits, without any hearing protectors for the workers. This results in hearing problems amongst the majority who work there. The walls say it all; they are full of cotton dust and silk web, causing dangerous lung diseases amongst the majority of people who work here. Welcome to Faisalabad, Pakistan's major industrial city, with no basic human rights for workers.

Mohammad Bashir has been working there for the last 50 years and he's 65. "90% workers here suffer from TB and several other diseases'', Bashir, a victim of Tuberculosis himself, tells without any glimpse of hope in his eyes. The film portrays a few workers of different age groups, all suffering from dangerous diseases, related to the nature of their work and due to lack of even the basic health facilities.

 

Labour Education Foundation, Pakistan in collaboration with Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC)

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Dayna Salway's curator insight, March 6, 9:45 PM

This article/clip definitely opens your eyes to the poor conditions that workers experience in developing countries. The sicknesses endured as a result of lack of access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) e.g. face masks, ear muffs/plugs; and not having the access to the appropriate medical treatment due to lack of money from poor pay conditions are life threatening. In this city alone, 3 million people are associated with the textile industry with up to 75% of them suffering some kind of disease that is related to the poor working conditions. 

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Human Rights Watch urges Thailand to investigate slaying of activist who exposed toxic dumping

Human Rights Watch urges Thailand to investigate slaying of activist who exposed toxic dumping | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
BANGKOK — An international human-rights group on Wednesday urged Thailand to investigate the slaying of an environmentalist who exposed the dumping of toxic waste, and demanded that it do more to protect activists.
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Rajasthan announces welfare initiatives for mine workers

Rajasthan announces welfare initiatives for mine workers | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
Rajasthan announces welfare initiatives for mine workers
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

In a landmark development, the Rajasthan government has announced welfare step for workers employed in the many mines scattered throughout the state.

The move is a welcome step for laborers as the state will share its responsibility towards workers employed in the sector.
 

Rajasthan has the highest number of mainlining leases in the country. The state has 1,324 leases for major minerals, 10,851 for minor minerals and 19,251 quarry licenses for mining stones, employing large number of workers, majority of whom come in the unorganized sector .

According to estimates, more than 25 lakh workers are employed with the mining industry in the state. 
 

However, lack of enforcement laws has helped mining companies exploit the situation. Laborers are forced to work in hazardous conditions leaving them exposed to diseases like silicosis. What adds to their misery is they are never compensated under any Act. The employers do not keep records of employment making them not liable for compensation under any Act.

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IPS – Profits Before Safety in Pakistan’s Factories | Inter Press Service

IPS – Profits Before Safety in Pakistan’s Factories | Inter Press Service | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
Profits Before Safety in Pakistan's Factories - Twenty-seven-year-old Muhammad Arif works at a steel re-rolling mill in Lahore, capital of Pakistan’s northeastern Punjab province, producing steel ingots from scrap.
AMRC Hong Kong's insight:

But even while export earnings increase, the country’s administrative machinery has been apathetic about working conditions in these factories, says Khalid Mahmood, director of the Labour Education Foundation (LEF) of Pakistan. He says this lack of concern over workers’ safety has dire, sometimes fatal, consequences.
 

Having visited Ali Enterprises – the apparel factory in Pakistan’s capital, Karachi, that went up in flames last September, killing 300 workers – he says he cannot fathom how the plant was awarded the prestigious SA8000 certification by Social Accountability International, a New York-based monitoring body tasked with assessing safety standards, just weeks before one of the worst recorded industrial disasters.
 

Reportedly caused by short-circuiting, the fire tore quickly through the factory, trapping workers behind locked doors.
 

Though the factory owners blamed the heavy death toll on the chaos that followed the blaze, experts say a lack of basic safety standards – like an absence of exit passages or adequate in-house emergency firefighting capabilities – was the primary factor behind the tragedy.
 

A good five months down the road, families of several victims are waiting to gain custody of their deceased loved ones: burnt beyond recognition, the bodies have not yet been identified, despite repeated DNA tests.

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China Acknowledges 'Cancer Villages' As Pollution Worsens And Disease Soars

China Acknowledges 'Cancer Villages' As Pollution Worsens And Disease Soars | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it
As public discontent mounts in China over the country's worsening pollution problem and the government's lack of transparency about environmental concerns, Chinese authorities have acknowledged the existence of so-called "cancer villages" in a new...
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Samsung Continues to Cover Up Fatal Chemical Leaks With More Lies

Samsung Continues to Cover Up Fatal Chemical Leaks With More Lies | Occupational Safety and Health | Scoop.it

Neighboring elementary schools have postponed new semesters in fear of fallout from recent chemical leaks at a nearby Samsung plant.  The surrounding community is unsettled with anger and frustration.  However, nine days after leaks of hydrofluoric acid gas that killed one worker and injured four at its plant south of Seoul, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. continues to cover up the fatal incidents with more lies.  The following is a quick rundown of new facts that the world’s largest chipmaker had been covering up since this blog’s last post:

 

Fact 1

Samsung said of the Jan. 27-28 leaks as the first-of-its-kind incident.  However, it was not the first time that hydrofluoric acid gas, a virulent and deadly impurity remover for semiconductor wafers, has leaked at the Hwaseong plant.  The conservative Chosun Il bo quoted a study conducted in 2011 by Dr. Suh Byung-seong, of Sungkyunkwan University and Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, and reported that a 37-year-old male worker was treated in Sept. 2010 after exposures to the acid gas. 

Prof. Suh’s study did not name Samsung’s Hwaseong plant as the site of the leak and instead described it as a semiconductor plant with 20,000 employees.  However, Samsung confirmed the incident, saying “a contract worker was exposed to the leak [three years ago].”  This is particularly outrageous because while Samsung concealed the leak from authorities in breach of law, a professor who teaches at a university and a hospital that Samsung owns, could still conduct a study of the victim. 

 

Fact 2

Initial press reports put the volume of the January 28-29 leaks at ten liters.  Later, Samsung said it was about two or three liters.  However, an autopsy of the 34-year-old victim known by his last name Hwang turned up a blister larger than one centimeter in the respiratory path, suggesting that the amounts of the leaks exceeded the capacity of his gasmask’s filter.   The exact volume of the leaks has yet to be determined.

 

Fact 3

Samsung ordered the four workers who were dispatched to the leak from contractor STI Service to patch up the leaks with absorption pads and plastic bags although the workers reported that the melted gasket needed immediate replacement, according to an opposition lawmaker who interviewed one of the four workers. 

It was about 11:30pm, about nine hours after the first leak, when Samsung management agreed to the replacement. Hwang, who ultimately died due to his exposure to the leak, had to work on the leak during his first hours on the site without wearing a protective suit because Samsung had urged him to stop the leak immediately so production would not be interrupted. 

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