The claim that Samsung Electronics intentionally blocked workers from accessing chemical information pertaining to workplace health and safety, or illegally prevented the disclosure of such information, is not true. We have fully cooperated with the court and the Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service by transparently disclosing all chemical information required and we will continue to do so.
Concerning assertions that Samsung intentionally withheld information under the justification of trade secrets, or that trade secrets have been used to conceal the use of toxic substances by Samsung:
Suppliers are not required to reveal information deemed a trade secret but they are required to disclose whether their products contain any toxic substance. This means that even if a supplier cites trade secrets to withhold information, the chemical product provided to Samsung has been certified as not containing any toxic substance.
This is also entrenched in Korea’s Industrial Safety and Health Act (41-2), which states that chemical substances that have been determined by the Ministry of Employment and Labor to cause serious illnesses to workers cannot be classified as trade secrets.
Moreover, as an additional step, Samsung also conducts tests on materials received from suppliers for traces of toxic chemicals.
Concerning the launching of an ombudsman committee, which AP noted in its article, we would like to add the following information:
On Jan. 12, 2016, a comprehensive agreement was reached between Samsung Electronics and the two organizations representing former employees and their families – the Family Compensation Committee and Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPS) – to establish an independent, third-party Ombudsman Committee.
The role of the Committee is to assess workplace safety within our semiconductor facilities in Korea and release reports on any areas for improvement. The Committee was officially launched on Jun. 8. Moving forward, Samsung will faithfully implement any proposed improvements from the Ombudsman and we have already created a fund of KRW 100 billion for financial aid and to carry out recommendations from an independent, third-party Mediation Committee.