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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201500949 - Employee Hospitalized After Inhaling Chlorine Gas

Accident: 201500949 -- Report ID: 0950614 -- Event Date: 07/22/1998
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
11967514811/20/19985169Holchem Inc.
At approximately 3:00 p.m. on July 22, 1998, Employee #1 was assigned to fill two totes (200 and 300 gallons) with sodium hypochlorite solution from the bulk tank (6000 gallon) by the lead warehouseman. Employee #1 initiated filling the totes in the recessed spill collection area ("pit") adjacent to the bulk sodium hypochlorite tank. Employee #1 stated that he filled the smaller tote first, and began filling the second. The bulk tank was emptied to a point where gravity was not sufficient, so the employee the set up of a pump to continue pulling liquid. This was a common procedure. Employee #1 stated that he asked the lead warehouseman or the operations manager if he should use the green pump and the hose lying on the pump located in the warehouse. Employee #1 was given permission to use the "green" pump which was designated for use with sodium hypochlorite solutions. However, the operations manager and lead warehouseman stated Employee #1 set up the yellow pump designated for use with bleach. Employee #1 noted that the pump he pulled had a bleach odor before he connected it to use. Employee #1 did not feel this was unusual, as the pump was used in the morning by a driver to dispense bleach. According to the Employee #1, the two ends of the hose were connected (male to female) and clasped. Employee#1 removed the clasp connecting the ends and attempted to separate the ends by hand but could not. Employee #1 placed the hose under his right arm, and pulled the ends away from each other (female end in left hand). The ends separated and Employee #1 immediately perceived a burning sensation down his throat. Employee #1 stated that he did not feel any spray or wetness, nor did he observe a liquid release, or perceive odors. Employee #1 stated he was not able to breathe or talk, and that he fell to the ground, and continued coughing for approximately 15 minutes. The operations manager discovered Employee #1 when he came out to the pit area from the office to investigate the coughing. There were no other witnesses to the incident. Employee #1 suffered acute toxic inhalation and acute airway edema, and was hospitalized for his injuries.
Keywords: respiratory, bleach, hose, chlorine, toxic fumes, chemical
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 119675148 Hospitalized injury Other Freight, stock and material handlers, n.e.c.

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