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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201638822 - Chemical Reaction Causes Respiratory Tract Irritation

Accident: 201638822 -- Report ID: 1054191 -- Event Date: 10/06/2009
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31347885110/08/20099131City Of Molalla
On October 6, 2009, Employee #1 was working as a plant operator at a water or sewage treatment plant. He was using a portable pump to transfer sodium hypochlorite from the facility's tank Number 2 to tank Number 1. One of the hoses on the pump came loose, and sodium hypochlorite spilled onto the floor of the feed pump room. Several gallons spilled before the operator realized the problem and turned off the pump. Normally when sodium hypochlorite is spilled at the plant, the liquid is diluted with water and swept out the door of the pump room. However, because there was some ascorbic acid at the site, the operator decided to use the ascorbic acid dechlorination procedure on the spill. When he sprinkled the powdered ascorbic acid onto the spilled sodium hypochlorite, the chemicals reacted, liberating chlorine gas. Employee #1 was overcome by the vapors, and he experienced severe irritation to his upper respiratory tract. He immediately evacuated the room and turned on the ventilation system. Because he was working alone that day, he called his supervisor. The supervisor called emergency medical services, and Employee #1 was transported to the emergency room. He had only minor respiratory tract irritation, so he was released from the emergency room without being admitted.
Keywords: caustic, sodium hypochlorite, waste proc fac, chemical reaction, respiratory tract, chemical burn, spill, chemical vapor
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 313478851 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Water and sewage treatment plant operators

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