Jhb factory told to after ammonia leak

2010-12-14 20:36
Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Emergency Management Services Fire Safety Directorate has issued a notice to an ice manufacturer in Richards Street after a dangerous ammonia gas leak was reported on Tuesday.

"At approximately 10:00 this morning, our call centre received a frantic call from one of the business owners, operating in the same location, about an unusual gaseous odour emanating from a neighbouring factory," said spokesperson Percy Morokane.

"A Hazardous Materials Team (HAZMAT) was dispatched to the scene and all employees were evacuated.

"The team investigated, traced the source and the substance which was leaking was identified as ammonia."

The factory's manager was instructed to close the factory and he brought in their contracted technicians.

Safety officers visited the premises a while later and found that the factory was still operational, Morokane said.

"As a result, the said notice was issued to the management of the business as the building was deemed to be unsafe to occupy... The officers will again visit the premises tomorrow (Wednesday)."

Ammonia is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour and is caustic and hazardous.

It is used mainly in industrial refrigeration systems. Exposure to high concentrations of gaseous ammonia can result in lung damage and ultimately death.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  health and safety

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