South Korean Agency Believes Hankook Factory Deaths Linked
According to a report published in South Korea’s The Korea Times newspaper, the Korea Occupational Safety & Health Agency reported on November 28 that the deaths of 15 workers at a tyre manufacturing facility in the South Korean city of Daejeon between May 2006 and October 2007 are seen to be a “collective outbreak.” This means, adds the paper, that a possible work related connection is seen between the deaths, as all occurred within a short time to employees working in the same area.
The country’s Ministry of Labour said it is now studying whether workers at Hankook Tire are more likely to develop cardiac disease, and if so, whether the tyre manufacturing process may be a contributing factor. The investigation is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The newspaper reports that a spokesman from Hankook Tire said the company is deciding upon measures against the announcement.
Meanwhile, reports The Korea Times, a group of lawmakers has alleged that Hankook has held back its workers’ filed claims regarding work related incidents. They claim that the number of filings since 2004 is a mere 15 to 29 per year, which is not even 10 per cent of that of rival tyremaker Kumho Tire. “Taking into account that Kumho has 150 per cent of the number of workers, it still does not make sense,” said South Korean political figure Woo Won-shik.