Speaking in public for the first time after the accident at their factory last Thursday, Mitsubishi Materials President Hiroshi Yao apologised on behalf of the company at a news conference on Saturday. The explosion at their semiconductor silicon plant in Mie Prefecture resulted in the death of five maintenance workers and caused injury to 12 others.
The reason for the explosion at the plant in Yokkaichi is still unknown at this point, but Yao acknowledges that they may have to review the safety procedures for maintenance work not just at the factory but also within the company. He says there is probably a flaw in the regulations, especially if it is proven that the maintenance workers followed proper procedure in the course of their work.
The explosion reportedly occurred when the maintenance crew removed the cover of a heat exchanger for cleaning. Several Mitsubishi Materials officials have said that they do not have a specific guideline when it comes to cleaning and opening the heat exchanger. Workers would have to touch the surface to determine if it was cool enough to be cleaned.
Yao says there might be a more “scientific method” in order to see if the heat exchanger was safe and they will investigate this further. Mitsubishi Materials, which is one of the country’s three major suppliers of semiconductor silicon have not made any decision when to resume operations at the plant.
[ via Mainichi ]