The fatal accident happened at the company’s Capua facility, north of Naples, on 11 September. The incident occurred during routine maintenance work on one of the plant’s two fermentation units used to manufacture food ingredients and enzymes. DSM said the “root cause” of the accident remains unknown.
Reports in the Italian national newspaper, La Republica, suggested that the three male workers died from gas poisoning after entering a fermentation tank that had been out-of-use for some weeks.
A DSM spokeswoman said the company was unable to comment on newspaper “rumours” and that an investigation into the incident was on-going.
She confirmed that activities at the fermentation facility where the accident occurred remained suspended today and that other business activities at the site had been reduced to “ensure a safe environment for all employees”.
“Production has been reduced but it is not possible to say by how much”, the spokeswoman told FoodProductionDaily.com. “The impact on business is relatively limited. Our priority is that employees feel they are in a safe environment.”
The three victims were employed by a contracting company that had worked at the plant for “a very long time” and were all “very familiar with the site, its operations and the safety procedures”, said DSM.
Italian authorities have launched an enquiry into the tragedy and DSM said it is fully supporting the investigation, adding its own “independent” team had been on-site since Sunday.
Around 190 people are employed at the microbial fermentation plant in Capua, which is a main production site of DSM BioSolutions, part of the DSM Pharma cluster.