A manufacturer’s safety plan worked to a “T” after broken pipe leaked a toxic chemical that leaked and formed a vapor cloud as workers arrived at an Attleboro, MA, city manufacturing plant last Wednesday, officials said.
Between 50 to 60 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked from a 700-gallon tank at Engineered Materials Solutions at 39 Perry Ave., Attleboro Deputy Fire Chief Dennis Perkins said.
No injuries were reported and the company had a prepared evacuation plan that was “executed to a T,” Perkins said.
Workers discovered a vapor cloud inside a production area around 5 a.m., Perkins said.
A hazardous materials response team stopped the leak, Perkins said.
The leaking hydrochloric acid was kept inside a secondary containment system and air quality levels inside the production area were declared safe by 11:30 a.m., Perkins said.
“Hydrochloric acid in vapor form is extremely dangerous,” Perkins said. “It’s a toxic inhalant.” Exposure to the chemical vapor could cause severe sickness, he said.
Hydrochloric acid is a very strong, corrosive mineral acid that has many industrial uses.
The company has a good compliance record with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Perkins said. Officials will analyze the accident afterward to determine the exact cause of the leak.
“Overall the facilities here are very safe,” Perkins said, adding the fire department has responded to few problems at the company.
The Bristol County Hazardous Materials Response team responded and cleared the scene around 11:30 a.m.
This manufacturing facility is the oldest and largest facility of the company and serves as its global headquarters, according to the company’s website. The complex has several buildings with more than 500,000-square-feet of manufacturing space.