Archive for October 6th, 2017


Yi Hye-jeong, 41 years old, is the 118th victim of Samsung’s occupational-disease cluster. 

Another former Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has died, raising the death toll of the tech company’s occupational-disease cluster to 118.

Yi Hye-jeong, a 41-year-old former Samsung employee, died on Oct. 4, on Chuseok, South Korea’s equivalent to Thanksgiving, about four years  after her diagnosis with systemic sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder that first stiffens the skin and then the internal organs.

118 Tragedies

Yi’s life and death conforms to the pattern set by the 117 Samsung victims who, ahead of her, have fallen victims to a variety of occupationally caused diseases.

In 1995, fresh out of high school, she began working at Samsung’s plant in the city of Giheung.  Over the next three years, she cleaned wafers, then placed them in high-temperature burners.  She was offered little protective gear or safety education, even though her job is known to involve such toxic chemicals as nitrous oxide, arsenic, phosphine, oxypoclimin, benzene, and xylene.

Soon, Yi began to suffer from headaches and chronic vomiting.  In 2013, she was diagnosed with systemic sclerosis.  Her hands began to swell, then turned necrotic.

Too Late Too Little

What makes Yi’s death more tragic is this: it came at a time when SHARPS is reaching new momentum in their ten-year campaign.  On Aug. 30, South Korea’s supreme court ruled that a former Samsung worker’s multiple sclerosis was occupationally caused without seeking proof of work-relatedness from the victim.

The ruling was truly a milestone.  South Korea’s workers comp agency and court had previously shifted the burden of such proof to the financially and physically devastated victims while it allowed the world’s largest tech firm, on a pretext of business confidentiality, to reject requests for the disclosure of chemicals used in chip production.  Yi was among tens of Samsung victims who had exhausted their legal recourse after failures to prove the work relatedness of their diseases.

Yi is survived by her husband and three children.

As of Sept. 2017, SHARPS has profiled 320 Samsung victims.  Yi’s death is the 118th at the entire conglomerate and the 80th at its chip/LCD unit.

SHARPS’s Sit-in Continues

Since Oct. 7, 2015, SHARPS and its supporters have been staging a sit-in at Samsung D’light, the company’s so-called global exhibition space in south Seoul, calling for the world’s largest technology company to:  1) compensate all victims of occupational disease transparently and sufficiently; and 2) make a sincere and full apology.


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