A gas leakage at a Samsung facility in southern Seoul sparked by a malfunction of the fire extinguishing system left one worker dead, local authorities said Thursday, raising concerns over the safety conditions at the country"s top tech giant amid a series of similar accidents.
Local police and fire authorities said the building"s safety system released carbon dioxide after it wrongly detected fire, suffocating a 52-year-old man who worked for a partner company of Samsung.
Officials from a local hospital said the worker, surnamed Kim, was already in cardiac arrest upon arrival. Police said they are investigating, although it will take some time to find out the exact cause of death.
"It was not fire, and as Samsung currently operates its own fire squad at its facilities, the company has no obligation to report the case," an official from Gyeonggido Fire and Disaster Headquarters said.
"We will, however, look into the case to find out the cause of the malfunction," the official added.
The company expressed its condolences to the family of the deceased on its official blog, adding that it will make its best efforts to prevent similar accidents in the future.
Samsung has seen a series of accidents since last year that have killed or injured a string of workers, sparking concerns among South Koreans that the country"s leading tech giant is not making sufficient efforts to prevent accidents.
Last year, two gas leakages at Samsung Electronics" facility in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, left a worker dead and seven others hospitalized. Around 11 officials were prosecuted following the accident on charges of accidental homicide.
In July 2013, the same facility in Hwaseong also suffered a leakage of ammonia, followed by a fire at Samsung"s Giheung plant, located in Yongin, just south of Seoul, in the same month.
Three workers were killed and 12 others were injured in July last year when a water tank burst during a stress test at a polysilicon plant construction site at Samsung Fine Chemicals Co.
According to the police, the 1,300-ton water tank was being filled for the third day to detect any cracks or defects in it. The steel tank exploded after it had been filled with about 1,000 tons of water.