A man in his early 20s was rushed to hospital after a high pressure pipe split and blasted ammonia into his face at a business in the eastern Perth suburb of Hazelmere.
Six other people were also taken to hospital as a result of the accident at cold storage and transport facility Rand Refrigeration, a cold storage and transport facility.
Company spokesman Dave Christison said the man’s face was hit by the ammonia.
“A contractor who was working in the cold storage facility at Rand has accidentally dislodged a valve on an ammonia pipeline,” he said.
The man inhaled the gas and was transferred to Royal Perth Hospital where he is in a serious but stable condition.
Four other people have been taken to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, while another person was conveyed to Joondalup Hospital.
Mr Christison said the scene was being decontaminated and all affected employees at the site had been stripped and washed before being taken to hospital.
He said there was no risk to the public.
“At all times the ammonia leak was contained within the room where the contractor was working,” he said.
“It has never been vented to the atmosphere so there is no danger to the community or to other workers [so] safety is an absolute priority.”
Five fire and emergency services crews were sent to the Vale Road business, which will not be opened again until the ammonia gas has been completely cleared.
“As we understand it DFES is still debating at this stage whether they will try to evacuate the ammonia or wait for it to dissipate,” said Mr Christison.
“It could be some time, and that’s unfortunate because it’s a very important time of the year in a cold storage facility with lots of fresh, frozen and chilled food in it waiting to go out to supermarkets and the like.”