POHANG, March 18 (Korea Bizwire) — A POSCO employee diagnosed with lung cancer has been recognized as a victim of an industrial disaster, labor authorities said Wednesday, for the first time at the company.
The state-run Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service sent a notification last Tuesday officially recognizing the employee who worked in the steelmaker’s Pohang and Gwangyang steel plants as a victim of an industrial disaster after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
The employee has been working at a transport unit in both steel plants for 35 years. His department is responsible for producing coke, a type of fuel made by heating coal.
The agency said that the employee, during his course of work, was exposed to coke oven gas and crystalline silica for an extended period of time, enough to cause lung cancer.
This makes it the fifth recognition by authorities for a POSCO employee to have suffered an industrial accident, and the first of its kind for a lung cancer patient.
The employee, despite hazardous work that involved transporting coal and coke, wasn’t offered proper protection gear from the company.
“Steelworks involve critical processes that inevitably produce hazardous materials that can cause various types of cancer, and this decision proves the poor working environment in the past,” said Kwon Dong-hee, a certified public labor attorney.
M. H. Lee (email@example.com)