Truck driver dies after ‘explosion’ at TSMC Arizona

TSMC Arizona
(Image credit: TSMC)

A truck driver has died after an accident at a TSMC plant in north Phoenix, reports Arizona’s Family News. 41-year-old Cesar Anguiano-Guitron was rushed to the hospital after the ‘explosion’ of a high-pressure waste tank valve knocked him over 20ft from his truck. Updated reporting has relayed the event of his death.

Accident and fire authorities are now investigating the incident in north Phoenix. However, we note that the reports from local Arizona media and Taiwan are a little different. AZFamily says that there was an “explosion at [the] TSMC plant” in Arizona. According to this source, Anguiano-Guitron was hit by an object when “uncontrolled pressure [was] released” during a waste tank inspection. It said the driver was inspecting the waste tank before leaving TSMC.

TSMC says there was no 'explosion'

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) relayed TSMC’s statement that there was actually no "explosion" at its north Phoenix facility on Wednesday afternoon. Instead, it explains that an abnormality occurred in a waste sulfuric acid removal tank that was entering (not exiting) the Arizona wafer plant. Upon inspecting the tank, the driver was injured as a pressure valve popped up, it says.

That much is acknowledged by TSMC, but there are quite a few things it insists didn’t happen. For example, it says there was no explosion or fire onsite. The accident also didn’t adversely affect factory equipment or pipelines, and it didn’t affect operations or the ongoing facility expansion, said a TSMC statement.

We understand the difference in reporting, with U.S. local news headlining with the ‘explosion’ angle, and TSMC more soberly describing the incident as being caused by a pressure valve. But the pressure valve certainly delivered an explosive force to knock a grown man 20ft... The Taiwan contract chipmaker has been very careful to de-sensationalize prior reports and reassure investors and authorities that TSMC’s employees and facilities were unaffected by the incident on Wednesday afternoon.

TSMC has likely grown quite sensitive about its Arizona operations. It has faced chip fab construction delays and supplier woes, union action, and most recently it had bad press regarding worker abuses. Thus, of course, TSMC fab or equipment explosions would have been very unwelcome news. TSMC’s statement seems to externalize Wednesday’s incident.

Hopefully, we will hear a clearer retelling of how and why the tragic death of Anguiano-Guitron occurred when investigations are complete.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.