Injured tannery workers' leave hospital

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 11:30 05/11/2012

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The second man hospitalised after a chemical incident at a Whanganui tannery will be released from hospital today.

Two men, aged 51 and 52, were flown to Wellington Hospital on Friday after a hydrogen sulphide leak at Tasman Tanning.

Nineteen others were treated at Wanganui Hospital.

Capital & Coast District Health Board spokesman Lindsay Davis said one of the men in Wellington was discharged over the weekend.

The other man, who had been in intensive care, was due to be released from hospital today.

An investigation into the chemical incident that seriously injured the two men has been launched by the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry, a department spokesperson said.

The men, aged 51 and 52, had been found unconscious after being overcome by Hydrogen Sulfide fumes.

Manawatu Fire Service Assistant Area Commander Rodger Calder said the chemical malfunction at the plant was not technically a "leak" but a "gas cloud" had risen, which sparked the evacuation and rescue.

Hunter Tait, managing director of Tasman Tanning, said on Saturday that staff remained concerned for the health of the two men still in hospital.

Mr Tait described the pair as experienced process operators who had worked at the plant for more than 20 years.

Tasman Tanning produces leather products and says on its website that it is the only finished-leather tannery now in New Zealand.

It has more than 200 staff and processes and sells leather for upholstery, footwear, accessories and the aviation and marine industries.

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- Manawatu Standard

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