Gainesville, FL – On January 28th a deadly nitrogen leak took the lives 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.
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.
Bruce Township, MI- A plant worker died last Tuesday at a factory after a 25,000-pound manufacturing mold fell on top of him. The factory, about 40 miles north of Detroit, is part of Romeo Rim Inc, which creates custom injection molding services, and had recently celebrated a year without any safety incident.
Deputies and the Bruce Township Fire Department found the man, identified as 42-year-old Davi Spano, underneath the equipment that had fallen from one of the interior plant walls.
“At this time, this incident appears to be a tragic accident,” the sheriff’s office was quoted as saying. The accident was responded to just before 10am, and no other workers were reported to be injured.
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) was contacted following the incident, authorities said. Martin Technical reiterates the need for on-site training and courses to prevent such incidents from occurring.
Buffalo, NY- The body of a Buffalo Sewer Authority contractor whom fell down a well leading into the Niagara River was recovered last week in upstate New York.
The well at the city’s water treatment plant is 15 feet deep, and extends to feed into the Niagara River. The man was not wearing a life vest nor was he tethered or anchored to anything.
The Buffalo Police Department stated that its underwater rescue and recovery team was responding to a water rescue call near the foot of Ferry & Bird Island in Buffalo. The victim’s body ultimately recovered on Bird Island.
“Once he fell into this confined space, it’s a very intricate intake system that meanders into a lot of different areas, so it’s a very difficult process to find out exactly where he could’ve been. There was a hope that he could’ve gotten snagged on something as soon as he fell into the well, but unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case.” Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo stated.
Confined space training and confined space rescue training lower the risk of accidents becoming tragedies.
Police said the investigation is considered an incident, it was not noted at this time if OSHA is involved yet.
Lincoln, CA- One man was killed and another worker was injured at the Sierra Pacific Industries location in downtown Lincoln on the afternoon of Sept. 18, 2020. Sierra Pacific Industries is the second-largest lumber producer in the United States.
The two were working on an commercial-sized air compressor at the industrial plant when it allegedly exploded.
This accident is currently under a California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL/OSHA) investigation, and it is believed that the company will have a better understanding of what took place which caused the accident and death once the investigation is finished.
“Lincoln Police personnel interviewed witnesses and documented the scene, and will turn everything over to Cal OSHA investigators,” Public Safety Chief Doug Lee was quoted saying.
Milo Fryer Jr., 34, of Lincoln, was named as the man who lost his life because of this accident. The other worker was not identified in the local news reports but was released from the hospital.
Port Neches, TX- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined the TPC group $514,692 for willful violations linked to the explosions and fire November 27 at the Port Neches, Texas plant.
An investigation found that the cause of explosions and fires was from the formation of a vapor at the base of a butadiene finishing tower which then ignited. The initial blast and then fires injured three workers and caused widespread damage to the surrounding community and civilians. The blast prompted evacuations that impacted near 50,000 people in the surrounding communities.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a statement that it cited TPC for three willful violations by not developing and implementing procedures for emergency shutdown and not inspecting and testing process vessel and piping components. Because of these willful violations, TPC faces $514,692 in civil OSHA fines.
Sanger,CA- A woman died after her hair and clothing got stuck while clearing debris on Friday from a raisin processing machine, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. The fatality from the incident happened at the Del Rey Packing Company’s dehydrator plant near Sanger, California.
The woman was identified as 33-year-old Yaneth Lopez Valladares.
Fresno Sheriff’s say Valladares got a piece of loose clothing caught in a machine used to process raisins.
The machine severely injured her, causing her to pass away at the scene as a result of the trauma she suffered, officials say.
Two other employees were nearby and immediately powered down the equipment and dialed 911. This was the woman’s second year working at this particular facility.
Valladares’s boss was too shaken and distraught to speak to us on camera, but he says his heart goes out to her family and friends.
Cal OSHA is investigating the incident, which could take a few months to complete, and released this statement:
An employee working for a farm labor contractor named Blessed Harvest was working on a Stem Grading Line when their clothing got caught on a shaft to a cylinder that breaks up raisin bunches, causing the employee to strike their head.
They will also be looking to see if there were any violations at this facility and if proper training was given to employees.
Two contractors working near a 6.9kV electrical bus were injured in an arc flash incident on March 16th at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Soddy-Daisy, TN, northeast of Chattanooga.
According to an event notification report from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) posted Monday, the two contractors were transported to a medical facility for treatment. “The cause of the arc flash is not understood at this time, an accident investigation has been initiated by TVA,” the report said.
The two injured contractors sustained first and second-degree burns. Both are employees of Day & Zimmerman, an engineering, construction and security firm based in Philadelphia. TVA told television station WRCB that it has suspended similar work activities until the cause is understood.
Neither of the workers were shocked or contaminated by radiation in the incident. The TVA’s two nuclear reactors at the site, Sequoyah Unit 1 and Unit 2, remain at 100 percent power, the NRC said.
When an arc flash happens, it does so without warning and is lightning quick. The result of this violent event is usually destruction of the equipment involved, fire, and severe injury or death to any nearby people. Proper safety and protection measures must be taken to limit the damage from an arc flash which include conducting an arc flash study, short circuit study, and NFPA 70E electrical safety training.