Three injured in Samsung gas leak, second time this year at Hwaseong plantBy Rick Burgess
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.
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.