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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 129378.015 - Employee Dies Of Cardiac Arrest Exacerbated By Exposures

Accident: 129378.015 -- Report ID: 0950614 -- Event Date: 08/24/2020
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
1492143.01509/10/2020Copper Harbor Company, Inc.

At 5:06 p.m. on August 24, 2020, an employee who had been performing routine dut ies for a chemical blending and packaging company died from cardiac arrest poten tially complicated by exposure to chemicals and wildfire particulates. On August 19, 2020, the employee spent the morning mixing water-based Glaze 'N Seal produ cts in Building D. He was then assigned to operate a forklift in Building B to a ssist in packaging powdered oxalic acid dihydrate. Excess powder was blown off w ith a compressed air hose. At 4:00 p.m. on that day, the employee had an asthma attack and was transported to the hospital. At some point, the employee had a he art attack and on August 24, 2020, the employee died. Further investigation reve aled three possible factors contributing this his death. The employee was potent ially exposed to chemicals on the job, the employee was potentially exposure to wildfire smoke, and the employee was exposed to heat. Heat was eventually ruled out as a factor. Coworkers worked within a semi-enclosed area in Building B with several respiratory irritants and exhaust from the area was vented into Buildin g B. Also, according to AirNow.gov, on August 19, 2020, due to two lightning com plex fires that were burning, the Air Quality Index (AQI) ranged from 128 to 170 , Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) to Red (Unhealthy), between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. At this time, the large doors on both buildings were open to the outside and the employee was operating the forklift indoors and outd oors. No autopsy was performed, and the causes of death listed on the death cert ificate were: (1) Cardiac Arrest; Brain Death-Ventricular Fibrillation; and (3) Other Significant Conditions: Asthma with unspecified acute exacerbation. It is likely that exposure to respiratory irritants at the worksite triggered the empl oyee's asthma based upon findings of the onsite investigation. The employee was not wearing a respirator and was only wearing a face covering due to COVID-19.

Keywords: cardiac arrest, cardiovasc disease, cardiovasc system, chemical, chemical exposure, compressed air, corrosive, dust, engineering controls, equipment operator, forklift, heart, heart attack, inhalation, lack of engi

Employee Details
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 1492143.015 56 M Fatality Hand packers and packagers

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