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Qilu Tianhe plant at night

Ten die in Chinese pharma plant accident

Ten workers were killed in an accident at a pharmaceutical intermediates and APIs plant in China’s Shandong province on 15 April, it has emerged. This was the second fatal industrial accident at a chemicals-related plant in China within the space of a month.

The deaths occurred during routine maintenance work on underground pipelines at Qilu Tianhe Huishi Pharmaceutical’s site. Welding sparks started a fire, causing heavy smoke that suffocated eight workers on the spot. Two more later died in hospital and 12 rescue workers were injured, though all were expected to recover.

There was no wider damage to the area, an environmental inspector said. Investigations are ongoing, according to the official newspaper People’s Daily. The plant at Licheng, near the city of Jinan, covers an area of 280,000 m2 and cost about $150 million to build.

On 21 March, 78 people were killed and over 600 injured in an explosion at the Chenjiagang Chemical Industry Park in Xiangshui, Jiangsu. This caused considerable damage over a much wider area and led to local authorities ordering the whole park to be closed. The Jiangsu authorities also subsequently brought forward plans to reduce the number of chemical parks in the province from 50 to 20 by 2022.

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