South Korean news agencies are reporting that electronics giant Samsung experienced a toxic gas leak at a manufacturing facility in Hwaseong. Yet another dent in Samsung's increasingly blighted safety record, the resulting gaseous hydrofluoric acid leak injured at least three employees. The severity of those injuries is unknown.

Of its many industrial uses, hydrofluoric acid is used to etch chip wafers and glass. It's also commonly utilized in the removal of oxidization (rust) and other contaminants from materials like steel. Although considered a relatively weak acid, the chemical is highly toxic (pdf) and even low exposures are capable of inducing permanent impairment or death.

Several months ago – at the same Hwaseong plant – a similar incident involving the same gas injured four workers, but also led to the death of one crew member. Reportedly, workers attempted to contain the gas leak with a plastic bag while it took Samsung nearly 14 hours to report the incident. Investigators believe that Samsung had aimed to cover up the event, but the worker's demise prompted plant officials to report the incident to authorities within one hour after his death.

Earlier this year, Samsung promised to "overhaul" its system as a measure intended to prevent future gas leaks. The company claimed today's mishap wasn't a systems failure though, but the result of work being performed on its gas conduits. Only a "small amount" of gas leaked, Samsung suggested.

Interestingly, gadget-maker Samsung is still being investigated over its previous incident, making this dangerous ocurrence of deja vu even more of an embarrassment to the company. At least seven employees, three of which were officials, were charged for negligence leading to the previous event. Circumstances leading up to the latest incident are still being investigated.