By on June 12, 2020

Image: Hyundai

While we fully expected to issue rolling updates on factory shutdowns as industry suppliers struggled to catch up to manufacturers in the aftermath of coronavirus lockdowns, the last few have been impossible-to-predict curveballs.

Honda found itself at the mercy of digital criminals who held its network for ransom, forcing numerous factory shutdowns around the globe as it tried to make sense of the attack. Meanwhile, Hyundai has had to belay assembly in South Korea after an employee at supplier Duckyang Industry Co. fell into the machinery.

The fatal incident stopped production at the supplier, leading to parts shortages at Hyundai that required work stoppages on numerous production lines — including those responsible for the Palisade and Kona. 

Details are scant at the moment, though union officials claim authorities are investigating what’s assumed to be a horrible accident so the facility can get back to showering the automaker with much-needed components. According to Reuters, Duckyang is responsible for various interior parts; Hyundai’s nearby Ulsan facility was already operating without many in reserve.

Health concerns kept the supplier shut down for the pandemic, contributing heavily to the 4.1 billion won ($3.4 million) operating loss Duckyang reported in its Q1 regulatory filing from May.

It has since done everything in its power to catch up and turn that loss around. Hyundai says it doesn’t expect much downtime from the incident and believes Duckyang will be operational by early next week. It also announced a factory stall in Ulsan and warned that other production lines may be impacted if supply chains don’t resume soon — though there seems to be little danger of that.

[Image: Hyundai]


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16 Comments on “Hyundai Production Stalled After Fatal Supplier Accident...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    How awful; does South Korea have the equivalent of an OSHA, like the US?

    Such accidents are often due to the removal of a guard that became too troublesome to work around every day, or a LO/TO procedure that was ignored or missed.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, it’s called KOSHA, though I don’t think working conditions are as safe, and you certainly don’t want to work at a tyre factory!

    • 0 avatar

      The happens in US automotive plants also. One of the employees of my old OEM coatings company was mangled and killed on the assembly line at a US manufacturer while checking for craters and orange peel in the paint on bodies moving toward the assembly area. OSHA has been around a long time but this person lost their life regardless of guarding, sensors, written instructions, et al. The fact that this occurred in Korea is not relevant other than affecting Hyundai production.

      • 0 avatar

        All the safety guards in the world won’t help you if some idiot happens by .

        One weekend a welder was inside our huge asphalt mixer inspecting the cracked mixing blades , he’d powered down the plant, added lock outs and posted signs, so on and so forth, a pinheaded employee came along, ignored all this and fired up the mixer killing the welder inside .

        I bet no one in Los Angeles remember this if they ever heard about it .


        • 0 avatar

          You’d need at least a bolt cutter to do that at the plants I’ve worked! Everyone has a personal lock that physically prevents equipment from being energized.

          • 0 avatar

            You’d think so but, rules are made to be ignored or something….

            You can bet I’d have my own personal lock, I did in fact and some jerkoff cut it off my locker to make a prank on another guy ~ he didn’t care that I’d had that lock since 1967 and it meant something to me…

            The people who cause problems never think nor care about anyone else, like the asshole who blew the stop sign in from of my Sweet’s house last night, bashed into a young woman’s car, spinning it ’round and totaling it, then took off .

            If your _LIFE_ is in the breech, _you_ get to make special rules so no one else kills you .



  • avatar

    Oh, my .


  • avatar

    I worked for one of the big 3 for 10 years. There were 3 fatalities over time in plants i worked.

    None stopped production for more than 1 or 2 shifts.

    • 0 avatar

      A lot of it depends on the cause of the fatalities. I’ve had coworkers die on the job. Yes, you need some time to grieve, but if the cause wasn’t company negligence, things need to fire up again.

    • 0 avatar

      The story that someone “fell into the machinery” makes me think that the poor unfortunate’s body parts were smeared throughout a processing line and will need more than wiping down with an oily rag.

  • avatar

    At GM we were issued personalized locks ..Employee name, serial number, and photo, one key.

    Using a bolt cutter before tracking down the employee , was grounds for dismissal. Hourly and salary employees all were required to refresh their Lock out training annually.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Unfortunately I have been involved in the investigation of multiple workplace fatalities.

    Generally they result in charges being laid against the employer.

    Usually they result in the equipment involved and/or area being shut down for an extended period, but not the remainder of the facility, unless other serious infractions are discovered.

    In some facilities, the staff will not return to work until a religious ceremony has been conducted to ‘cleanse’ the area.

    In Canada as of 2017 the majority of workplace fatalities were among workers over the age of 50. Often experienced workers who had become somewhat ‘lax’ in their safety practices.

    For an effective lock-out/tag-out, you have to lock out the energy at the panel, and at the machine. Use locks for which only you have a key, and include a tag with your name, date and time. You also must ensure that any latent energy in the machine has been expended. We have witnessed machines such as punch presses complete a cycle after their electrical energy has been locked-out. A block of some kind should be used to prevent them from doing this.

    Anyone cutting off a lock should immediately be disciplined/discharged unless proper procedures have first been followed and a safety rep is present.

  • avatar

    there were TONS of these on the road back then in southern california. for a time, their dealership occupied the largest, most opulent corner lot at the cerritos auto square, on studebaker/166th st. i think after their fall, lexus took the place for a while. building had been torn down/redone and is currently in VWs hands.

    all too rich for me. at the time i was riding an 87 honda elite 80 to my job at toys r us down the street, and to cerritos college. a little over a buck to fill the tank for a week wasnt bad for someone who rarely made over $100/week at the mcjob.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    You are absolutely correct about releasing all the potential energy on a machine. Electrical energy is the first, but not only step.

    It could be tensioned springs, hydraulic pressure on an accumulator,or simply the weight of a component which would settle once that disassembly begins.

    Also I agree that in this age, deadly accidents are the result of bypassed regulations.
    I once witnessed a severe mauling because the mechanic working on the machine didn’t bring the lock’s key with him. Although the lock was placed on the circuit breaker, it was left unlocked.

    Another worker came by, saw the open lock, removed it and energized the machine.

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