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Formosa Chemicals & Fibre plant explosion injures 4

The explosion was caused by excessive pressure in the furnace

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An explosion at a Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. plant in Mailiao left four employees injured

An explosion at a Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. plant in Mailiao left four employees injured (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. (台化公司) plant in Mailiao, Yunlin County, suffered an explosion at 4:30 a.m. yesterday, leaving four employees injured.

County officials said that the four employees suffered burns and bruises and were treated at Chiayi Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, with one remaining at the hospital for observation due to gas inhalation. An investigation into the incident has been initiated and the company shut down its 250,000 mt/year No. 1 styrene monomer (SM) plant.

The early morning explosion at the SM-1 plant occurred in the 30-meter F101 furnace that suffered excess pressure under high temperatures when switching fuel from gas to oil, Apple Daily reported. An unnamed source told Platts that the accident was caused by “operational issues” but also confirmed reports that it was due to “an abrupt increase in pipeline pressure.”

The Ministry of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered that the area around the accident be immediately shut down for its investigation. Following the investigation, the company may be fined NT$30,000-300,000 (US$968-9,683) if it is found in violation of health and safety codes.