LG Chem to inspect all plants, suspensions possible

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LG Chem to inspect all plants, suspensions possible

LG Chem will inspect all of its 40 production plants worldwide by the end of June, the company said Tuesday, and it could shut facilities if they are found to be dangerous.
The measure is in response to two deadly accidents, in India and in Daesan, South Chungcheong, in a two-week period at LG Chem plants. A gas leak at LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam, India, on May 7 killed 12 and left hundreds hospitalized. A fire at the Daesan factory on May 19 killed one and injured two.  
The plant in India, which is wholly owned by LG Chem, had for a time been operating without proper environmental clearances, according to a story published by the Guardian.  
A manufacturer of petrochemicals and rechargeable batteries, LG Chem currently has 17 factories in Korea and 23 production sites overseas. The inspections will take place through late June.  
While safety issues found during the inspections will be immediately dealt with, the company said it may have to halt operations indefinitely if long-term adjustments are required.  
The investigation will be conducted by a task force of LG environmental safety and manufacturing technology experts and an external company, which has not yet been hired.  
“Our focus in this safety inspection will be to understand every possible risk of accidents and establish safety nets of double, triple layers,” LG said in a statement. “We will re-establish our environmental safety standards to match the world’s top level, moving further away from simply complying with regulations per region.”
Regaining trust will be a priority for LG Chem’s business this year, it added.
The project will be spearheaded by LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol, who will host a meeting with top executives twice a month to receive updates on progress and fundamentally revise the way LG Chem establishes and runs its factories.
The company will develop an IT system that can help detect possible dangers in the building of new factories. Any project found with possible safety faults will be halted immediately, regardless of volume.
“Even among factories that are currently in operation, we will consider closing them down once we conclude we cannot ensure their safety,” said LG Chem CEO Shin.  
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON   [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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