Workers hospitalized after gas leak at chip factory

Twenty-one Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) employees were taken to the hospital on Wednesday because of a gas leak at a chip fabrication plant (fab) in Hsinchu, Taiwan, a company spokesman said.

"At 2:05 p.m. (local time), there was a gas leakage alarm," said J.H. Tzeng, a spokesman for the company. The leaked gas was arsine, a highly toxic and flammable gas that is used exclusively in semiconductor manufacturing, he said.

The gas leak occurred inside TSMC's Fab 7, a fab that produces chips using 200-millimeter silicon wafers, Tzeng said. "In accordance with our procedures, we sent everyone in the immediate area (of the leak) to the hospital for a health inspection," he said.

The gas leak did not require TSMC to halt operations at Fab 7 and the facility is operating normally, Tzeng said. "The issue is only the health of these employees and the doctors said they are all doing well," he said.

The 21 TSMC employees were expected to be released from the hospital by the end of the day, Tzeng said.

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