Was a PPE lapse at root of this tragedy?

by on July 9, 2015 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network
respiratory hazards

Most companies are tight-lipped following an accident, so it’s no surprise that Fort Erie, NY-based Rich Products’ managers haven’t released details of a tragedy that killed one contract worker and injured two more after an ammonia leak.

But most safety pros can take an educated guess. The company had an emergency-response plan and team in place before emergency rescuers had arrived, and was able to conduct an orderly, rapid evacuation. They communicated quickly to the neighborhood surrounding their facility for people to remain inside. It looks like they had a solid safety program.

Still, one fatality and two injuries in the plant’s engine room, where the ammonia compressors for the facility’s refrigeration system are located, sounds like a PPE lapse. Ammonia leaks can burn someone’s lungs in seconds. It’s critical that workers use their respirators when working around potential ammonia leaks. Take home: Remind workers that if there are risks of ammonia leaks, they need to wear their respirators.

OSHA is investigating. We’ll keep you posted.

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