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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Occupational Health

Stories from women working at two Samsung factories in Vietnam are documented in a report by the  Hanoi-based Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED) and IPEN. The unprecedented study of 45 workers reports frequent fainting, dizziness, miscarriages, standing for eight-to-twelve hours, and alternating day/night shift work. This study is important because the lives and rights of workers in the electronics industry in Vietnam have been neglected in research and policy.

FULL REPORT

(Göteborg, Sweden) In an unprecedented study on the experiences of women working at two Samsung factories in Vietnam, a report released this week documents health and workplace violations by the electronics industry giant. The workers’ experiences of frequent fainting, dizziness, miscarriages, standing for eight-to-twelve hours, and alternating day/night shift work are documented in a report released this week by the Hanoi-based Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED) and IPEN, a global network of environment and health NGOs working to reduce harmful chemicals. 

Samsung dominates the global phone market as well as the electronics sector and economy of Vietnam, where 50% of its smart phones are produced. The electronics sector is a significant area of growth for Vietnam, as electronics exports outpace other exports. However, Vietnam has no labor codes specifically protecting the health of electronics industry workers, who are overwhelmingly women.

The study combines industrial sector research and qualitative narratives of 45 workers, and is the first of its kind in Vietnam to shed light on the experiences of the predominantly female electronics industry workers. Because Samsung is notoriously secretive, it offers a rare glimpse into life on the Samsung factory floor. 

The National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea has paid meaningful attention to the hazardous conditions in the semi-conductor industry by hosting Supporters of Health and Rights of People in the Semi-Conductor Industry (SHARPs) and IPEN for a premiere of the new documentary film, "Stories from the Clean Room.” In preparation for the film premiere, IPEN Senior Science and Technical Advisor Joseph DiGangi, PhD wrote an article that appeared in the Korean media outlets OhMyNews and MediaToday. The main purpose of the article was to introduce the international concern about toxic exposure and occupational health and safety that has been generated by the deaths and grave illnesses of former Samsung workers.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/photo-essays/2017-06-15/these-women-are-p...

Workers in Asian factories might still be exposed to chemicals banned in the U.S. 25 years ago. Photographs by Anastasia Taylor-Lind for Bloomberg Businessweek.

To the Minjoo Party of Korea: We represent international networks that have been focusing for many years on human rights, occupational health and environmental health in the global electronics industry. We stand in solidarity with SHARPS during their historic 600+ day sit-in at Samsung.  

The recent framework agreement signed by the Minjoo Party and SHARPS (see below) provides key objectives for worker safety policies including right-to-know, protecting sub-contractor workers, and strengthening enforcement and penalties to increase corporate accountability. 

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