Singapore

11 taken to hospital after chemical leak

Eleven workers were taken to hospital after being exposed to a chemical leak at a wafer fabrication plant in Kallang Way yesterday.

The Straits Times understands that the leaked gas was nitrogen trifluoride - a colourless, odourless and non-flammable gas used in the plasma etching of silicon wafers.

The affected workers, who were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, are believed to have suffered from skin irritation.

The production floor where the leak occurred has been blocked off for investigations, but staff were allowed to go back to work in other parts of the company around 7pm, ST understands.

All the affected workers were from RF360 Singapore - a joint venture between American telecommunications equipment company Qualcomm and electronics company TDK, which is based in Japan.

A staff member, who declined to be identified, said he and other colleagues evacuated the building after hearing an announcement around 12.30pm that there was a gas leak.

Workers said they did not smell anything unusual.

The leak was shut off by an in-built safety system before the arrival of officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which was alerted around 1.40pm.

SCDF, which sent Hazardous Materials (HazMat) officers to the site, declared around 3pm that the incident was "contained within a sealed production room on the premises".

At about 3.50pm, SCDF said its HazMat detectors showed no reading of the chemical vapour in the production room.

"The surrounding environment is also safe with no traces of the chemical in the air," it added.

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