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Samsung Allegedly Delayed Reporting Fatal Gas Leak

Yonhap News Agency reports that Samsung is under investigation for allegedly covering up a gas leak that killed one employee and injured four others.

According to the report, hydrofluoric acid, an acute poison that can seriously damage lungs and bones in addition to affecting the nervous system, leaked from a 500 liter tank located at a semiconductor plant in Hwaseong, South Korea, just south of Seoul. It began leaking in gas form Sunday night around 11pm local time.

Presumably fixed before getting too far out of hand, the tank reportedly sprung another leak, secreting about 10 liters at 5am Monday morning. One subcontractor collapsed at the scene and died from prolonged exposure later at the hospital. Four others were also hospitalized, but were discharged shortly thereafter.

"A small amount of diluted hydrofluoric acid leaked early Monday morning during maintenance at one of the gas and chemical supply systems at the Hwaseong site," Samsung confirmed. The situation was contained and production was not affected, the company added.

Samsung reportedly didn't tell the proper authorities about both instances for more than a full day after the workers were hospitalized. Now the company is under investigation by the local police and fire departments for not reporting the incident sooner, to determine whether workers had access to proper safety equipment, and to figure out why the tank leaked the poisonous gas in the first place.

Samsung did not respond to questions about why it delayed in properly telling authorities about the gas leak.

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