Friday, January 05, 2007

BASF chemical leak: fatal and non-fatal injury

If such accidents can happen in the developed UK you have to wonder how many accidents of this type go unreported around the world. This article links to work we are doing on the wage premium workers recieve for working in industries such as these. Our results suggest that workers do get paid "extra" for working in such conditions and today's news justifies why this result should not come as a surprise.

One Critical after Toxic Chemical Leak

LONDON - One man is critical in hospital and dozens more needed medical treatment after a leak of toxic chemicals from a chemical plant in northern England on Thursday, site operator BASF and emergency services said.

BASF said the seriously injured worker was stable but undergoing treatment at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Another employee is also in hospital under observation while 14 others were released after treatment following the incident at a plant in Seal Sands near Middlesbrough, northern England.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with the BASF employees and their families. The condition of our injured colleagues remains our major focus and we will be monitoring their progress closely," said BASF's managing director Torben Berlin Jensen.

A spokeswoman for North East Ambulance Service said 37 people had been treated at the scene for burns, skin irritations and breathing difficulties.

A BASF spokesman said there had been a leak of hexamethlyenediamine, a chemical used in the production of acrylic and nylon fibres and plastics.

The German chemical company said it would launch an investigation into the incident along with the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

The affected section of the plant will remain shut down as part of the inquiry.

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