(ATTN: ADDS Samsung's statement 6th para; TRIMS throughout)
SEOUL/HWASEONG, May 2 (Yonhap) -- Highly poisonous hydrofluoric acid leaked at Samsung Electronics Co.'s main chip plant in the southern city of Hwaseong on Thursday, injuring three workers, the company said.
The incident comes roughly three months after up to 10 liters of diluted hydrofluoric acid, a colorless acute poison that can damage the lungs and bones and even affect the nervous system, leaked at the same semiconductor plant in Hwaseong, 60 kilometers south of Seoul.
The world's largest memory chipmaker said that a small amount of hydrofluoric acid leaked around 11:30 a.m. Thursday when the workers were upgrading parts of an existing facility.
The injured workers were being treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital, Samsung Electronics said.
"Only a small amount of hydrofluoric acid leaked," a Samsung Electronics official said.
In a statement, Samsung said it has reported the incident to the appropriate local authorities and is fully cooperating with investigations.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor and Employment said Samsung Electronics has apparently not followed safety regulations, stoking concerns over the company's lax response to safety concerns.
The ministry said the toxic hydrofluoric acid leaked from the same gas pipes that employees were repairing on Jan. 28 when one worker was killed four others were injured.
Since January, Samsung has been under intense fire for not only failing to report the incident to the authorities promptly but also for the alleged cover-up.
(3rd LD) S. Korea to send 50,000 tons of rice to N. Korea via WFP
(3rd LD) Xi arrives in Pyongyang for summit with Kim
(LEAD) Xi to visit N. Korea amid trade tensions with U.S.
Moon declares 'renaissance vision' for S. Korea's manufacturing industry
(2nd LD) S. Korea proposes compensating forced labor victims through company funds; Japan rejects it