Keppel Seghars, the lead contractor on Viridor’s 850,000 tonne per year combined heat and power waste to energy facility in Runcorn, near Manchester UK, is to investigate following a chemical leak which hospitalised 17 people during the current commissioning of phase 1 of the facility.

According to Viridor – a part of the Pennon Group (LSE:PNN) – the incident involved a spillage of Air Pollution Control Residue, which contains hydrated lime, and is used as part of the air pollution control process.

The substance is deemed an irritant to eyes and skin, and following the incident 17 contracted employees self-presented at Warrington Hospital.

One employee was said to have been kept in hospital overnight as a precaution but has since been discharged.

According to a report in the Warrington Guardian, a hospital spokesman said the injuries appeared to be relatively minor.

The spokesman was also said to have confirmed that there is no risk to staff or public on site and other hospital services are running as normal.

A spokesman for Cheshire Police was reported to have said: “While carrying out work on the site a number of workmen have come into contact with a substance which has caused irritation to the eyes and respiratory problems.

“The circumstances surrounding the incident are currently being explored and enquiries are continuing.”

Viridor said that Keppel Seghers is conducting a full investigation and looking into what lessons can be learnt.

The company added that the spilled material is being removed from the site and commissioning activities are continuing as normal at the waste to energy facility.

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