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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14252597 - Formaldehyde Spilled When Railroad Tanker Derails

Accident: 14252597 -- Report ID: 0453710 -- Event Date: 06/21/1988
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
297982106/21/19884953Four Seasons Industrial Services
At approximately 4:40 a.m. on June 21, 1988, 20,000 gallons of formaldehyde were spilled during a derailment at CSX yard B in Hamlet, NC. During the derailment, a valve on the bottom of a tank car ruptured and spilled the formaldehyde. Four CSX employees were exposed. The conductor of the derailed train walked forward from the caboose into the vapor cloud. He was taken to the hospital and held for observation. Three crew members from another train were exposed as their train passed near the wreck and through the vapor cloud. CSX contracted Four Seasons Industrial Services, Inc., to clean up the spill. The remedial actions consisted of plugging the leaking tanker, pumping the remaining formaldehyde from the damaged tanker to a vacuum truck, pumping up spilled formaldehyde that pooled between the gravel ballast of the railroad track bed and the soil underneath, and treating the affected area with sodium sulfite to neutralize any remaining formaldehyde. No Four Seasons employees were injured during the cleanup.
Keywords: vapor, railroad car, equipment failure, rupture, valve, spill, toxic fumes, formaldehyde, tank, chemical
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature
1 2979821

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