Five Employees Hospitalized After Leak At Tennessee Plant

A facility that produces materials for solar panels reportedly leaked a highly volatile gas that sent five workers to the hospital last week.

Mnet 108610 Wacker Tenn

A Tennessee facility that produces materials for solar panels reportedly leaked a highly volatile gas that sent five workers to the hospital last week.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the Charleston facility, owned by German chemical giant Wacker, sent a response team to contain the leak after it was detected midday Wednesday.

Company officials said that silane gas was detected during routine maintenance but did not offer additional details about how the incident occurred.

Silane can cause burns or frostbite if it comes into contact with skin, but it can also explode when mixed with air or cause rapid suffocation if inhaled.

Each of the five workers was hospitalized with chemical burns, and Bradley County officials told the paper that no explosion occurred and there was no danger to the neighboring community.

The plant, which opened last spring, produces polysilicon for use in solar panels. The Times Free Press added that the facility was previously fined twice in its first 17 months by federal workplace safety officials.

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