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Hankook Cleared of Charges on Disease Outbreaks

(The Korean Times) South Korea’s Ministry of Labor concluded today that no connection existed between multiple occurrences of heart disease and the working environment at a Hankook Tire plant in Daejeon.

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The ministry told the presidential transition team in a briefing that though the workers at the plant seem to have more heart disease than others, the relation between the alleged “deadly working environment” and the occurrence could not be confirmed.

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The ministry also held a press conference in the afternoon repeating its findings and refuting allegations made by families of the deceased.

It said the workers at the Hankook plant had a relative 5.5 times and 2.6 times greater chance of dying from heart disease and suffering heart attacks than others in the same age group. However, there was no evidence that the working environment contributed to these, it added.

The ministry said it will conduct other research to study the relationship between workloads and health risks by end of the month.

A special investigation into the tiremaker’s plant in Daejeon was made after 15 workers were reported to have died over a short period of time through possible work-related deaths. Seven among them died of heart-related disease in less than two years.

Survivors of the deceased claimed that solvents used during the manufacturing process had played a role in their deaths.

 “We will do our best to improve the working environment no matter what the final report says,” Hankook Tire spokesman Calvin Park said, welcoming the government announcement. “Workers will be provided with more specified and thorough health checks to prevent such mishaps in the future.” (Tire Review/Akron)

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