Two workers were airlifted to hospital yesterday with serious burns after they were showered with molten plastic in an industrial accident in Co Clare.
The men, aged 44 and 49, were operating a machine at Thormac Engineering a company that provides a plastic injection moulding services.
The alarm was raised at around 3.15pm when the emergency services were alerted to what was described as an explosion at the factory which is located in the Shannon Industrial Estate close to the airport.
Two ambulances and a rapid response advanced paramedic unit and gardaí rushed to the scene. They were quickly followed by three units of the fire brigade from nearby Shannon town.
Paramedics assessed and treated the men who had suffered ‘severe burns’ to their hands and head. The building was also evacuated for a time.
After assessing the seriousness of the injuries, paramedics decided that the injured should be airlifted to hospital rather than be transported by road.
The HSE’s National Aeromedical Co-ordination Centre (NACC) requested the Irish Coast Guard to medevac the casualties to hospital. The Irish Coast Guard search and rescue base is located just a few hundred metres from the scene of the incident.
The two men were transported by ambulances to the helicopter base accompanied the short distance by fire crews and gardaí. Witnesses said the two casualties had their hands and heads ‘heavily bandaged’.
The helicopter crew was already standing by to fly the injured to the burns unit at Cork University Hospital (CUH).
While the Coast Guard crew readied their helicopter paramedics continued their assessment and treatment of the men before they were handed over for transportation to hospital.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) confirmed that they were informed of the incident and that an inspector was sent directly to the scene.
Gardaí confirmed that both men suffered serious burns but that the extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately known.
A company statement said: “Two men have been injured whilst working at the Thormac Engineering Manufacturing site, Shannon Industrial Estate. Both men were working on a machine, and were immediately attended to onsite by First Aid trained staff.
“Both have been taken to Cork University Hospital, for treatment of burns. A full investigation process, has been instigated by the HSA and Thormac,” the statement added.
“Both men are long term employees of Thormac Engineering and valued members of the team. Our Thoughts are with our fellow employees and their families following this accident,” the company said.
Injection Moulding is a manufacturing process for producing parts from both thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic materials.