Blast at Aesica London plant

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chemical industry

Contract manufacturer Aesica has confirmed reports of a blast at
its Ponders End facility in North London last night, hospitalising
three workers.

The incident occurred at around midnight, when the company says "pressure release from the outer chamber of a carbon filter"​ injured three Aesica employees and landed them in hospital. While two have since been released, one employee is still under medical care and has been transferred to a specialist clinic to undergo treatment. The carbon filter responsible for the blast is used in Aesica's processes to remove colour from products, with the Ponders End facility operating 24-hours a day. "The incident was contained within the building where the event took place and no other parts of the site or local area were affected,"​ the company said in a statement released this morning. "A full investigation has been launched and will be completed as soon as possible." ​ The Ponders End chemical manufacturing facility has a 300-ton-per-year capacity, and was bought from Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) just over a year ago. The acquisition also brought Aesica a multi-year supply agreement to provide MSD with intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients for a number of years. Aesica also bought an Abbott site in Queenborough in September this year (bringing another supply agreement in place until 2012), and in August also announced a new small scale pilot plant at its site in Cramlington, Northumberland. The company was formed in 2004 following a management buyout form global chemical company BASF. The firm was unavailable to comment further on last night's incident prior to going to press.

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