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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 675231 - Employees Overcome By Chemical Vapor

Accident: 675231 -- Report ID: 0454510 -- Event Date: 03/18/1993
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12045956503/18/19931541H. G. Reynolds Co.
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12045958103/18/19933494Automotive Switch Co.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. on March 18, 1993, an on-site contractor that was building an addition to the prime site began applying concrete sealant containing trimethylbenzene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and mineral spirits to a final 4 ft by 150 ft strip of concrete floor. The permanent wall between the plant stockroom and the new addition had been removed and a plastic enclosure had been constructed to contain dust in the new work area. At approximately 8:00, a supervisor from the plant complained to the contractor about smelling fumes in the plant. Exhaust fans were placed near the roll-up doors to draw the fumes outdoors. At approximately 8:45, Employee #3, who was working in the stockroom, became ill and went to the breakroom, where she was treated by EMTs. Employees then began to evacuate the building. Employees #1, #2, and #3 were hospitalized and 26 employees were treated for nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Employees #1, #2, and #3 were all recovering from respiratory illnesses, and according to the MSDS, the chemicals in the sealant were known to aggravate pre-existing respiratory health problems. The contractor had not made a copy of the MSDS available to the prime site to adequately protect their employees. It was observed that there was a strong negative pressure in the plant and fumes were pulled directly into the stockroom through holes in the plastic; however, levels of exposure could not be measured as the inspection took place after the plant had been evacuated and ventilated.
Keywords: exhaust system, respiratory, work rules, xylene, inhalation, toxic fumes, concrete, ventilation, chemical vapor
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 120459565 Occupation Not Listed
2 120459581 Hospitalized injury Other Precision assemblers, metal
3 120459581 Hospitalized injury Other Precision assemblers, metal
4 120459581 Hospitalized injury Other Supervisors, production occupations

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