Chemical Scare at Brown Printing Prompts Evacuation
WASECA, MN—An early morning mixture of two chemicals on Thursday produced an abnormal vapor release and prompted the evacuation of up to 200 employees at Brown Printing, according to the Waseca County News.
Brown Printing's employees were evacuated just before 7 a.m. and a stretch of Old Highway 14 near the plant was closed in both directions for several hours, according to the News.
The newspaper reported that four employees were checked out at Mayo Clinic Health Systems. A spokesperson for Brown Printing did not immediately respond to a Printing Impressions request for an update of their conditions, but the newspaper said the four employees were looked at as a precautionary measure and were expected to be released that same day.
Brown Printing Human Resources Director Jamie Tech told the News that the chemicals in question are commonly combined, but the proportions were "off" on Thursday, creating the vapor. The mixing of these chemicals is part manual and part automatic, and Tech noted that the company is still investigating how it happened. Tech did not identify the chemicals.
"We don't honestly believe there was a threat," Tech told the paper. "…it was just part of the standard operating procedure. The chemical mix was accidental that released fumes that were not normal. Our trained staff issued (an evacuation) just in case."
In addition to local fire and ambulance responders, the Mankato Chemical Assessment Team provided on-site assistance. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesperson said the agency had not been informed of the incident, though the newspaper said that Brown Printing may not be obligated to contact OSHA in this instance.