Firm keeps tabs on Japan disaster zone

IN TOUCH: The AGC plant in Thornton. The firm has 'sister facilities caught up in the disaster in Japan
IN TOUCH: The AGC plant in Thornton. The firm has 'sister facilities caught up in the disaster in Japan
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THORNTON’S AGC Chemicals plant workers have been receiving updates on disaster-hit colleagues in Japan.

A sister-facility to Asahi Glass Company’s North West Japan operations, workers from the NPL Estates site have forged close links with their Japanese counterparts.

Workers from the glass-making and chemical-producing sites have visited Thornton many times in the past.

AGC has an architectural glass plant in Kashima, and a chemical plant in Chiba which were damaged during the earthquake and resulting tsunami earlier this month.

AGC spokesman Ann Harkin said: “Watching the pictures on that awful morning, it was our friends there. You can rebuild the buildings, but losing people is a whole different story.

“There were some injuries at the plants but no-one died.

“Everyone was evacuated from the sites.

“We are briefing our employees weekly. We have been very lucky – some factories such as Honda have had to close down production.”

Production at the two Asahi facilities will resume shortly – but under a priority workload. Some of the chemicals produced are needed for health products and the Japanese government may put priority on producing those.

The firm’s first action was to produce sodium hypochlorite, used for the disinfection of drinking water, and caustic soda, which is a raw material for sodium hypochlorite.

Mrs Harkin added: “AGC is a very socially-aware company and will do what is needed.

“They are also looking at energy consumption, trying to use as little as possible.”

The devastating natural disaster should not have any affect on the production in Thornton according to bosses.

Mrs Harkin said: “As for our plant here, we are still at full production and the disaster has not affected us in any way at the moment. We’re hoping there won’t be any issues.