SEOUL, Dec 30 (Korea Bizwire) – The Korean Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service ruled that Mr. Hyung, an employee with lung cancer, has an occupational illness after working for 35 years at a fire grill restaurant in Korea.
This is the first case ever in Korea where a worker’s illness caused by second-hand smoke was legally recognized to be caused by an occupational hazard, amid the Korean High Court not finding tobacco manufacturers liable for lung cancer in April after 15 years of lung cancer patient lawsuits.
This breakthrough is considered to be a milestone for second-hand smoke sufferers, and could foreshadow increasing chances of compensation for similar cases in the future.
According to Korea Bizwire’s interview with Kwon Hyuk Tae, the labor attorney representing Mr. Hyung, Hyung’s request for recuperation allowance that was submitted to the Korean Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service is now judged to be valid.
Hyung worked 14 hours a day for 35 years in a fire grill restaurant, managing charcoal and coal briquettes, and was continuously exposed to smoke from grills and tobacco smoking customers.
According to the attorney, the committee of occupational disease confirmed that Mr. Hyung worked in an environment lacking a proper ventilation system for the first 26 years of his employment.
Hyung’s lung cancer was ruled to be an occupational illness since Hyung never smoked and was exposed to gas generated by coal combustion and smokers. His illness was also discovered when he was 53, a relatively young age for lung cancer diagnosis in Korea.
According to an investigation conducted by a research lab employed by the Korean Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service regarding Hyung’s case, the risk of lung cancer for long-time employees of work places with indoor smoking, such as casinos, restaurants, pubs, PC gaming centers and night clubs, might be high based on research conducted in other countries, including China and Germany.
Attorney Kwon Hyuk Tae also told Korea Bizwire that non-smoking lung cancer patients who have been exposed to second-hand smoke for more than 10 years should seriously consider submitting a request for recuperation allowance to the Korean Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)