Eight hospitalized in chemical workplace incident; One in critical condition
Eight people became unwell on Wednesday due to a toxic substance released during work at the Moerdijk industrial estate in Noord-Brabant. They have all been taken to a hospital, one with severe injuries. The Midden- en West-Brabant Security Region initially reported five injuries but later adjusted that.
The incident was first reported to emergency services at 8:51 a.m. Multiple ambulances, the fire department, the police, and two trauma teams by helicopter responded to the scene.
The toxic substance was released during work on a storage tank belonging to the company GCA. Employees of the adjacent company, Stolthaven, were also affected by the leak. The security region doesn’t yet know what went wrong.
It concerns phosphorus trichloride - a colorless, fuming liquid used in making pesticides, among other things. Phosphorus trichloride can affect the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, and those who inhale it can suffer from pulmonary edema. In the worst case, people could die from exposure.
The safety region could not yet say whether the substance was supposed to be in the GCA tank. The situation has now stabilized.
The Moerdijk port- and industrial area is located on the Hollands Diep, on the border with Zuid-Holland. Many chemical companies are located on the site. In June 2014, there was a major explosion at Shell in Moerdijk. The bang could be felt in Utrecht and The Hauge. The explosion was caused by an unexpected chemical reaction between substances in a reactor. Two people got hurt. Shell was fined 2.5 million euros for not doing enough to prevent serious accidents.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times