Accidents and Incidents

In 2017, there was an explosion at the US production site in Charleston, Tennessee. It was caused by a technical defect, prompting a leak of hydrogen, which subsequently caught fire, thereby severely damaging an important facility of the production plant. In the wake of this incident, two plant employees were taken to the hospital for examination, but were discharged on the same day. This incident was investigated in detail, including any potential improvement measures for this and other WACKER production plants.

The modular filter equipment at Burghausen’s multifunctional facility was affected by a spark that caused a fire in October 2018. This happened while measures were being taken to clear out a blockage between a pump and a filter. Four Wacker Chemie AG employees were injured. One of them was discharged after being treated as an outpatient at WACKER’s own Health Services, while two employees spent a short time in an outside hospital. One employee was treated in a clinic and underwent rehabilitation before returning to work in March 2019. The incident was not caused by a technical fault. We have now taken measures to prevent such blockages in the future. We reviewed the processes in place at all WACKER Group production sites for performing such work.

We use the criteria of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) to assess safety and environmentally relevant events (see diagram). These include substance spills, fires and explosions, as well as incidents that have no adverse impact on people or the environment, e.g. if all of a spilled substance was contained by the catch basin or the sewer system and was eliminated by in-plant wastewater treatment facilities.

We depict the number of safety-relevant and environmentally relevant incidents in relation to 1 million hours worked. This performance indicator, which we call the WACKER Process Safety Incident Rate or WPSIR, is tracked across the group so that we can improve our safety management record. Our WPSIR was higher in 2018 than in 2017. The causes of the incidents were investigated in detail. Measures were then taken to avoid these kinds of incidents and similar ones in the future.

Basis for the Evaluation of Events According to Cefic Criteria in 2017/2018

1 GHS = Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
2 CMR = substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic to reproduction
3 H phrases = describe hazards emitted by chemical substances or formulations;
H phrases that begin with: 2 = physical hazards, 3 = health hazards, 4 = environmental hazards
Safety and Environmentally-Relevant Incidents1























According to criteria laid down by the German Chemical Industry Association, VCI


WACKER Process Safety Incident Rate (WPSIR)








Groupwide environment- and safety-related incidents per 1 million hours worked2