Chemical Explosion Hurts 3 in PA Lab

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 05:02 PM gHale

There was a minor chemical explosion Thursday injuring three workers in a semiconductor lab at the Tek Park campus in Upper Macungie Township, PA.

Employees of CyOptics Inc. were changing out canisters containing the chemical trimethylindium when the explosion took place, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) spokeswoman Joanna Hawkins.

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Emergency crews got the call just after 10 a.m. to the lab at the office and technology campus on a report of a small chemical explosion and fire.

One employee suffered a laceration and two others ended up hurt in the blast after the chemical they were using ignited on contact with air, said Grant Grim, the township’s emergency management coordinator. They and others working in the lab ended up decontaminated.

Trimethylindium is an organometallic compound used in the manufacture of semiconductors. It can be dangerous or explosive when mixed with other compounds and can spontaneously ignite when it makes contact with air.

CyOptics is a subsidiary of Broadcom and describes itself as a leader in indium phosphide optical chips and component technologies for data communications and telecommunications markets.

Grim said the three men did not suffer life-threatening injuries, but was unsure if they were still in the hospital.

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