The explosion at the plant of the South Korean petrochemical company Yeochun NCC (YNCC) in the city of Yeosu killed four people and injured four, a Yeosu fire station official reported.
The incident at the YNCC’s third plant in Yeosu occurred at a time when companies are preparing for tighter controls under a new South Korean law punishing management for incidents involving the death of workers.
The factory is still working
“Currently, the third factory has not stopped production, and the first and second factories are working, so far there is no impact on production,” a YNCC official said at the briefing.
The Ministry of Labor is on the ground to decide whether to suspend production or close the plant, and the official says he will make the decision in accordance with administrative measures.
The accident happened during a leak test in the cleaning process, which is a procedural action carried out every four years, the official added.
YNCC’s third oil cracker in Yeosu, the site of the explosion, produces 470,000 tons of ethylene a year. YNCC’s first and second crackers at Yeosu produce 900,000 and about 920,000 tons of ethylene each year.
The YNCC’s total capacity is 2.29 million tons of ethylene per year, which is about 1.1 percent of global capacity, said Samsung Securities analyst Cho Hyunryul.
Owners and managers face prison sentences
He added that the interruption of supply should not be significant, but an order to suspend the entire production cannot be ruled out because stricter rules have been imposed on the sites than the adoption of the Law on Serious Accidents.
A new South Korean law, which came into force late last month, requires business owners and management to be sentenced to one or more years in prison or fined up to 1 billion won (about 5.5 million kuna) for serious industrial accidents if they violate security measures. , writes Reuters.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the blast occurred at 9:26 a.m. local time on Friday in the city of Yeosu, about 320 kilometers south of Seoul.
Eight people are believed to have been at the scene at the time. Four of them died and four were taken to hospital with injuries.