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Chemical spill in Rancho Cordova sends seven workers to hospital

Last week we discussed the explosion at the Aerojet Rocketdyne plant in Northern California that injured two workers. Officials say that a second industrial accident at the Rancho Cordova, California, campus has occurred. This time, however, the accident occurred in space rented by a tenant on the property—the tenant is not related to the rocket company, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Officials say that seven workers for AMPAC Fine Chemicals were exposed to chemical byproducts when a forklift punctured a container at the facility. The metal container spilled chemicals in a contained area, where seven workers were exposed to the chemical spill.

A spokesperson for the Sacramento Metro Fire District says that one worker was directly exposed to the chemical spill, while the remaining six were exposed indirectly. The spokesperson says that none of the workers exhibited symptoms in the immediate aftermath of the chemical spill, but all were taken to the hospital for medical evaluation.

State workplace safety officials were notified of the chemical spill. Agents from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health were expected to look into the accident. When Cal-OSHA investigates workplace accidents the agency may take up to six months to complete its probe.

Sources say that the chemical company, which rents space on the Aerojet Rocketdyne campus, is based in Las Vegas. However, the company employs 350 people at the Rancho Cordova, California location where the company manufactures chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry. California workplace safety records indicate that the chemical company has faced five safety complaints in the past two years, which have led to 37 safety citations in California.

The most recent incident occurred shortly after 8:30 Wednesday morning. Authorities say that workers were trying to move a metal container holding unidentified chemicals when the forklift punctured the container. But, few other details are known at this point in the investigation.

Workplace safety is an important issue. When workers suffer injuries on the job related to unsafe conditions in the workplace, the benefits that may be available under California workers’ compensation laws may be significant. However, workers’ comp laws (and workplace safety issues) can be complex.

Source: Sacramento Bee, “Chemical spill sends seven to hospital at Aerojet Rocketdyne campus," Richard Chang, Dec. 4, 2013

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