There have been a total of two oil vapor leaks at Hanwha Total's Daesan plant, but the company was found to have failed to immediately report the leak to the administrative authorities.
In a meeting on May 20, the Seosan City said that the leakage accident occurred early morning of May 18, following May 17, but Hanwha Total did not immediately report it to the administrative authorities.
Hanwha Total reported it to the Seosan Fire Station about an hour after taking its own action by spraying firewater during the accident on May 17, and did not inform the public of the second leakage on May 18.
The Chemicals Control Act stipulates that chemical accidents should be reported to local governments or fire departments immediately.
After all, the report to Seosan City was made at 1:30 p.m., two hours after the accident, so that the news could be reported to residents via the town's broadcasting. The accident has caused 525 patients so far, and critics say Hanwha Total's belated report has caused more damage.
Meanwhile, it was alleged that Hanwha Total forced unskilled managers to restart the plant, citing a labor strike.
Lee Yoon-soo, a senior vice president of Hanwha Total Union, said in an interview with Labor Today that the "bad product" was made, causing a surge in temperature of the storage tank.
"I told the company several times that it could be dangerous to restart the plant during the strike," he said. "The accident occurred while the company ignored the warning from the labor union," he reportedly crticized.
Civic groups held a rally in front of the main gate of Hanwha Total on May 18 and urged the labor and management to engage in negotiations, saying, "For stable factory operations, union members who know the site best should be deployed."
Meanwhile, Hanwha Total's labor union proposed a 4.3 percent increase in wage negotiations in 2018, but the management proposed a 2.3 percent rise. About 800 union members, excluding 128 workers, have been on full strike since April 25.