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Archive for April 30th, 2010

At March 31 this year, we lost another young Samsung worker, Ji-yeon Park. She had done her best to join the struggle of SHARPS despite of suffering from the cancer. The document below is Ji-yeon Park’s final statement submitted to the hearing for the Physicians Advisory Committee, which was hosted by the Cheonan branch of Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service. Ji-yeon Park showed up in person to give a personal testimony for the committee while she was struggling with blood cancer. Yet the three physicians disregarded her ardent appeal.
Her statement that she regrets her decision to work for Samsung is heartbreaking. We’ll never forget her will and hope to achieve worker’s right.
-SHARP (Supporters for Health and Right of People in semiconductor industry)
My name is Ji-yeon Park and I began to work at the On-yang factory of Samsung Semiconductor on December 27th, 2004. I worked in the department called QA group, which examines the semiconductor products and was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (M1) on September 12nd, 2007 at the age of 21 after working at the factory for two years and eight months. After five sessions of chemotherapy, I was finally able to get a bone-marrow transplant on April 29th, 2008.
Because of the complications caused by the bone-marrow transplant, I had to face several critical crises, near-death experiences, including three visits to the emergency room. I was fortunate enough to survive through the crises and now go to Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital once every two weeks for treatment as an outpatient.

I had spent several million won (tens of thousand dollars) for hospital treatment for the past year or so.  I had given up my dream of being a college student and decided to work for Samsung, a big company, in the hopes of helping out my struggling parents and family. It took only three years for my dream job to turn into a nightmare of the horrible disease, the blood cancer.

I could not believe the fact that I was diagnosed with an incurable disease, because I had always been the healthy one, quite invulnerable to seasonal flu or common cold throughout my life until high school. I truly regret my decision to work for Samsung.

The diagnosis was shocking and I was too young to accept the fact that I could die from blood cancer. Though the disease was far more than I could handle on my own, I was able to bear up against it thanks to the help of my friends and the devotion of my mother.

The line 1, where I had worked, was the part of the factory that examines the exterior, the interior (through X-Ray) and the adhesive property of the products to find defects throughout the processes including D-RAM Front, Mold, Finish, Gate, and Test.

X-Ray examination, which was the main part of my job, was the most significant part of the Mold Process. The 10-year-old X-Ray machine was obsolete and did not have a safety lock. I sometimes opened and closed the door even without knowing whether the machine was on or off when I was busy working.

In the Finish Process, I cut the lead frame, which had gone through the Plating Process, into slice, put them into Bake Oven 2HR, Steam Aging 8HR, and then soaked the product in FLUX, which is sticky yellow adhesive. This process was followed by the adhesive property test which examines the adhesive quality of plating by putting the product into the melted lead of 245°C.

In this process, I repeatedly soaked the product in the 141B chemical detergent after soldering the product and did SCOPE tests. I had headaches from inhaling the smoke from soldering. I routinely got the chemicals on my hands in the process of handling FLUX fluid and 141B fluid.

We were given cotton gloves, which could not prevent the chemicals from being soaked into the skin, and the chemicals did not wash off easily with water. Everyone including me rarely wore masks. The basic safety equipment was not provided for those whoworked in the examination process. Once, we actually had an accident where the hood that emits smoke from the solder pot was caught on fire.

I did not only lose my health but also life due to the dangerous and unsafe work environment. Now, I am barely managing to get through each day, tortured with regrets of causing my parents pain and agony.

The doctor who gave the first diagnosis of my disease had asked me whether I was handling chemicals at work. I had seen mycolleagues have miscarriages. Several months before I was diagnosed with leukemia, I often had irregular periods and blood discharge.

Though we were supposed to work in four teams in three shifts, we often had to work in two shifts and sometimes worked nights for as long as two consecutive weeks. I decided to file a WC claim on the ground that there is a correlation between my disease and the fact I had to work long hours under stress for a long time, exposed to radioactive chemicals, which caused fatigue and undermined my immune system.

I know I will have to live in anxiety and worries for the rest of my life. Doctors say that the full recovery will take at least fiveyears. Even after five years, the disease could recur, in which case my family will not be able to make a living, spending all the money my mother brings home by waiting tables at a restaurant to pay my hospital bills. I am here today to give a testimony despite my illness, because I cannot let that happen to my family.

It is my sincere wish that there will be no more victims like myself in the future. I insist that the government (Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service) must bear the responsibility of compensating my treatment costs and living expenses so that I could at least live on without worrying about money.
Thank you.
May 15, 2009

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