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Electrolux plant closed by polyol spill

Article-Electrolux plant closed by polyol spill

A leak of 1,700 gallons of polyol at Electrolux's plant in Orange, Australia, has closed the plant for several days, according to a report from Central Western Daily. Polyol is one of the two chemical components used in making polyurethane, which is foamed to make refrigerator insulation. Plant manager Mark O'Kane told the media outlet that the leak occurred when a flange gasket in a feeder line failed.

The media report by Tracey Prisk said that the leak was discovered on Monday by a security guard. The guard was the only person at the plant, which happened to be closed for Australia's Labor Day. The plant was locked down soon after the leak was discovered.

O'Kane said in the media report that the appliance company was working with a HAZMAT team to make the plant safe. Production could resume at the plant on Thursday. He also said that the spill resulted in no injuries and that none of the spilled material escaped into drains.

It was the second plant-closing incident at the Orange facility this year. A portion of the roof at the plant collapsed on February 4, halting production for several days. Media outlets reported that power was cut when the roof fell in over the plant's electric sub-station.

The same factory was closed by a similar chemical spill back in 2005. On Dec. 4, 2005, a holding tank was discovered to be leaking liquid MDI--the second component used in the polyurethane foam insulation in refrigerator cabinets. No injuries were reported. A malfunction in a holding tank was blamed for the leak.

The Orange plant in New South Wales became a part of Electrolux when the Swedish appliance giant acquired appliance maker Email in 2001. Electrolux announced in late 2013 that it planned to close the Orange plant in 2016.

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