Authorities in South Korea are carrying out an on-site investigation at Samsung’s Giheung chip fab after two workers were allegedly exposed to radiation on May 27.

According to a Google-translated statement from the country’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, the two workers have been hospitalized after showing “abnormal symptoms” on their fingers due to localized radiation exposure. Blood tests carried out on the workers have returned normal results.

Samsung Electronics HQ in Paldal-gu, Suwon, South Korea. Image courtesy of the Creative Commons
– Creative Commons

As a result of the ongoing inquiry, the Commission has suspended the use of equipment involved in the incident. It said a specific cause of contamination will be confirmed later in the investigation process and it plans to carry out additional tests to evaluate the exact radiation exposure dose, including blood abnormality tests for patients exposed to radiation, interviews with workers, reproduction experiments, and computer simulations.

The Commission added that if violations of safety laws are confirmed, it plans to take “administrative measures.”

In response to a request for comment from TheKoreaTimes, Samsung said: "[The workers] are currently undergoing follow-up tests, and Samsung is wholeheartedly supporting their treatment and recovery.”

Samsung’s Giheung facility is located approximately 25 miles south of the South Korean capital of Seoul. In 2022, Samsung announced it was investing 20 trillion won ($14.6bn) to establish a 109,000 sqm R&D facility at the site.

Samsung Electronics union calls for strike action

Earlier this week, a union representing thousands of Samsung Electronics workers announced that strike action will be taking place next month in South Korea. A one-day protest will be carried out on June 7, although workers will be required to use their paid leave to participate.

The union, which contains 28,000 members – around one fifth of the company’s total workforce – has not ruled out further strike action in the future if its demands, which include a 6.5 percent pay rise and a bonus pegged to the company's earnings, aren’t met.

According to a report from the BBC, Samsung Electronics said it will continue to negotiate with the union.