A carbon dioxide leak at a Samsung chip plant has claimed the life of a 24-year-old worker, and left two others, aged 26 and 54, hospitalized. The three involved, who are employees of a Samsung supplier and not of Samsung itself, were inspecting Samsung's operations, particularly in relation to the control of toxic and pollution-causing gases, and were later found unresponsive in a basement of the building that they were inspecting. The youngest of the workers was still alive when he made it to the hospital, but apparently only lasted a few hours more. The older workers are still unconscious but are alive. Samsung would not give specific information on their condition.
The incident took place at Samsung's semiconductor factory in Suwon, South Korea. Samsung has launched its own investigation into the incident independent of local authorities, and has thus far stated, "It is believed that the cause of death is suffocation due to a carbon dioxide leak." It is worth noting that Samsung has a dedicated global safety team comprised of 500 individuals worldwide. This team conducts safety inspections and enacts safety and health policies according to company guidelines, and their work is inspected by independent third parties to verify the results and ensure impartial judgment.
Semiconductor plants have a wide range of fixtures in their typically vast workings that can easily become dangerous, and Samsung's plant in Suwon is no exception. This is especially true of the Suwon plant because it is one of the company's largest semiconductor factories. This is not the first time that Samsung has had a widely publicized safety incident, or even the first time that workers have died on the company's property. Any type of factory work has the potential to be extremely dangerous no matter what safeguards may be in place. Samsung's operations in Suwon are extremely large in both scale and scope, and have a vast multitude of moving parts and dangerous chemicals and gases that can cause an incident due to negligence, faulty parts, or even simple coincidence in some cases. This incident serves as a tragic reminder of that fact.