Nitrogen Leak Kills Six, Injures 11 in Poultry Plant Accident

Gainesville, FL – On January 28th a deadly nitrogen leak took the livesAn example photo of industrial liquid nitrogen cannisters of six workers at Foundation Food Group poultry plant located in Gainesville, Florida. The leak occurred during unplanned maintenance on a processing and freezing line. The line was installed about a month prior, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s report on January 30th.

In addition to the six dead in the nitrogen leak, there were 11 injuries, one more individual was sent to the hospital, and 130 other workers were forced to evacuate. Katherine A. Lemos, CEO & chairwoman of the CSB stated the investigation “…may take up to several years.” New information is still coming forward, and will continue to do so as Lemos suggests.

What We Know Currently

In the CSB’s report from January 30th, it was detailed that there was a release of liquid nitrogen. This rapidly converted to a gas. Because the gas form of liquid nitrogen is heavier than air, it forced the oxygen out the room.

How the liquid nitrogen was released was not detailed. The CSB is currently working to isolate the exact location of release inside the plant. Additional damage to the plant was avoided when a manger turned off an external isolation valve after the leak began.

Other details noted in the report included: Tools were found on the ground near the equipment. The plant receives 2-3 18-wheel truckloads per day of liquid nitrogen. Manufacturers of interior equipment are being looked into, and the supplier of liquid nitrogen was noted in the report.

Going Forward

The CSB lacks the authority to issue fines or criminal charges. However, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating the leak. The CSB has noted its investigations will include examinations and evaluations of multiple factors. The will include training as well as operations and procedures. Martin Technical encourages all industries and professionals to keep all employees up to date on training, as well as safety procedures and operations such as Lockout Tagout. Keep your team informed on all regulations and industry standards to prevent accidents such as these.

Read more coverage from NPR, New York Times, and USA Today

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OSHA Investigates Worker Trapped by Machine

Hudson, N.C.- Last Tuesday, 12/29/20, at Sealed Air Corp. plant in Hudson, North Carolina, worker Alan Rothenberger was trapped in a machine for 45 minutes.

He was airlifted to a hospital and is currently in a coma due to brain damage caused by lack of air-flow to his brain for 10 minutes after the incident.

The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) division has begun its investigation into the incident. 

“Based on the preliminary information that we have at this time, an employee was threading up a machine when their body was pulled into the machine causing crushing injuries to their torso,” OSHA said in a statement.

The incident is believed to have taken place when rollers did not have a clear stop or release button accessed, potentially being a lockout tagout machine issue or fault.  Sealed Air. Corp manufactures bubble wrap and foam.

Originally sourced from wsoctv.com

Image: pri.org

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Trench Collapse Traps Two Workers, OSHA Investigates

Rapid City, SD – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened an investigation into a Rapid City trench collapse that trapped two workers, including one who died last Monday afternoon. OSHA is still confirming information of the identity of the workers as well as the company. 

The incident occurred in the driveway of an unoccupied home in an area building up new homes and apartments. 

The accident was reported just before 4 p.m., after a police officer and medic responded and found the two men trapped in a large dirt pile in a trench that was 15 feet long, six feet wide, and five feet deep.

First responders were able to rescue the man submerged up to his chest, but the other man was buried, where it took nearly five hours before recovering the body around 8:45 p.m.

Trenching, or creating a narrow excavation, is a dangerous activity if not done properly, according to OSHA’s Trenching and Excavation Safety publication. Cave-ins or collapses are the greatest risk and can be fatal since one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car.

Story and image originally sourced from Rapid City Journal. 

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Three Story Fall Kills Plant Worker, Injures One More

Commerce, GA- A construction worker at the SK Battery plant in Jackson County, Georgia was declared dead after he sustained injuries from a three story fall.

The accident itself took place November 4, 2020 at the plant’s Formation Building. Reportedly the worker fell through a hole in an air vent 46 feet above the ground, later landing on top of a female worker standing below who also sustained injuries.

Jackson County deputy coroner, Jeff Rogers, said the 34-year-old Augusta man suffered brain injuries and was kept on life support until this weekend. The female worker remains in critical condition but is ultimately expected to survive.

Some workers have told reporters at FOX 5 they worry sub-contractors are sacrificing safety for speed. “You take chances in our trade and you wind up dead,” warned Randy Gregory when FOX 5 Atlanta talked to him in September.

This month’s accident follows other recent injuries at the site. Recently, one worker was hospitalized after he fell through a ceiling, while another allegedly fell through a roof. Fall Protection Training actively addresses the factors that lead to such incidents like these three occurring.

Deputy coroner Rogers said the investigation by OSHA will determine whether the man who died followed safety procedures and at what fault the subcontractors and company will be held at.

“They’re going back out to the site,” explained the deputy coroner. “They’re interviewing witnesses, employees that were there that saw the accident.”

Originally sourced from Fox 5 Atlanta.

Image from claycorp.com

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