Hankook Issues Statement Regarding Worker Claims
(Akron/Tire Review) Hankook Tire has issued a statement in response to news reports that South Korea’s Ministry of Labour is investigating the relationship between the working environment at two of Hankook’s factories and the sudden deaths of 14 employees. The deaths being investigated occurred between May 2006 and October 2007, and workers at the company’s factories in Daejeon and Geumsan, claim the deaths can be linked to a toxic chemical solvent used during the manufacturing process – a claim Hankook reports it has examined but as yet remains unverified.
Hankook’s statement says:
“Hankook Tire has been investigating, and continues to investigate, a number of deaths that have occurred to employees from its two plants and R&D centre in South Korea. Causes of these regrettable deaths are suspected to include cardiovascular diseases and cancer. There have been some reports about these deaths based on allegations, which have not been found to be related to the working environment at Hankook Tire.
“The health and welfare of all employees is a priority for the company. The company extends its sympathies and condolences to those who have passed away and their families. Hankook Tire’s facilities and employee management practices are in full compliance with all South Korean government regulations and are benchmarked against international best practice.
“Nevertheless, the company is taking this issue seriously and has set up – with its labour union – a joint task force team in consultation with the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency and industrial medical experts. In parallel, the Industrial Disease Research Center from the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency has also been working on an epidemiological study.
“If new risk factors emerge through these evaluations, Hankook Tire will implement measures to mitigate conditions that might adversely affect employees’ health and safety. We will provide updates on the investigation as they become available and will continue to work in full cooperation with all relevant parties and authorities.”