Chemical spill sends seven to hospital at Aerojet Rocketdyne campus

A chemical spill at Aerojet Rockedyne in Rancho Cordova sent seven people to the hospital Wednesday morning, the second industrial accident at the campus in two weeks.

The incident occurred around 8:35 a.m. inside a facility owned by AMPAC Fine Chemicals, which is a tenant, according to Aerojet officials. The two companies are not related.

Workers in one of AFC’s manufacturing plants were attempting to move a container of chemical byproducts when the forklift accidentally punctured the metal container, causing the spill, said Jeff Robinson, a spokesman for the company.

“The material spilled to a contained area, and we subsequently cleaned it up,” Robinson said. “There was absolutely no exposure to the environment or to the surrounding community.”

Approximately 200 gallons of chemical waste were spilled, he said.

AFC notified Aerojet’s on-site fire department, which in turn called out Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District officials.

Metro Fire spokesman Capt. Bryan Thomson said 24 fire personnel responded, including a hazardous materials team.

“Seven people were exposed, one directly, and six indirectly,” he said. “There were no real symptoms, but they were all transported to area hospitals to be evaluated.”

Robinson said Wednesday afternoon that all of the employees were being released from the hospital and that the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health had been notified of the incident. Inspectors from Cal-OSHA are expected to visit the site today, agency spokesman Peter Melton said.

AFC, headquartered in Las Vegas, employs 350 people at its 250-acre property in Rancho Cordova to manufacture pharmaceutical chemicals.

According to Cal-OSHA records, the AFC facility had five complaints within the past two years. State inspectors cited 37 violations and fined the company tens of thousands of dollars. At least one accident was reported at the site in July.

The chemical spill comes on the heels of an explosion that occurred Nov. 19 at an Aerojet facility that injured two employees. The investigation for that incident was turned over to Cal-OSHA.