Amgen received a California OSHA citation in November for an explosion at the biotech last May that injured a hazardous-waste disposal employee. On Wednesday, another explosion was reported at the biotech, this one sending two workers to the hospital.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, one worker was seriously injured and another was hurt Wednesday afternoon in what fire officials called a "minor" explosion at Amgen's South San Francisco lab facility. The workers suffered burns from the blast, which ignited in a flammable liquids cabinet. The cause was unknown, but fire officials told the newspaper that ether was involved. Employees were evacuated from the facility as a precaution, the newspaper said.
Amgen ($AMGN) spokeswoman Ashleigh Koss said in an email today that "We can confirm an incident at our South San Francisco site yesterday. We worked with the South San Francisco Fire Department to address the situation with the safety of our employees being our first priority. There were two injuries and those individuals received medical attention. An investigation has begun to determine the cause of the incident."
In May, a worker who was collecting hazardous materials at Amgen's research facility in South San Francisco was burned when a fire ignited. He worked for a waste-disposal and cleanup company. Cal-OSHA spokesman Peter Melton told the Mercury News that in November citations were issued to Amgen, Clean Harbors Environmental Services and the Unity Lab Services division of Thermo Fisher Scientific ($TMO) for that accident.
Fires and explosions at pharma manufacturing facilities are not unusual, but there are few reports of events at research facilities. An explosion in 2012 at a Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) plant in Croatia killed four workers and injured 17 others. A fire in a boiler room at a Sandoz plant in Boucherville, Quebec, did not cause injuries but exacerbated a shortage of one of the products made at that Novartis ($NVS) plant.
- read the San Jose Mercury News story