Four maintenance workers injured at Wacker plant on Friday

Photography by C.B. Schmelter / Wacker Chemical opens in Charleston, Tennessee.

Four contract workers at the Wacker Chemical plant in Charleston, Tennessee, were injured Friday while performing maintenance in one of the process buildings at the polysilicon production facility.

About 1:20 p.m. Friday, an emergency call to 911 came from Wacker and the injured workers were taken to the hospital for evaluation, according to a company statement Friday night.

Wacker spokeswoman Lisa Mantooth said the contractors were working on non-operating equipment. The Bradley County Sheriff's Office said the workers were taken to a hospital via ambulance and airlift after they were hurt by apparent chemical burns and inhalation of possible toxic substances.

"There was no impact to the environment or surrounding community," Mantooth said in a statement Friday night. "Our thoughts are with the contractors and their families at this time."

The incident comes less than three years after a chemical explosion at the Wacker plant in September 2017 injured 13 people, including plant workers, a firefighter and nearby residents. Wacker determined that a piston failure ignited a plant fire and sent 1,784 pounds of hydrochloric acid into the air. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation concluded that the blast was caused by a "sudden and unavoidable failure of process equipment."

The explosion shut down production at the plant for nearly eight months.

The latest worker injuries at the plant are expected to be reviewed by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The $2.6 billion Wacker plant makes a key product for solar panels and semi-conductors.