Processing plants due to their nature and complexity of their processing activities are regarded as the most hazardous organizations. It is known as the number one cause of deaths of Australian workers, costing many organizations thousands of dollars for compensation. This has therefore forced the organizational manager not only to provide the required health and safety measures but to go an extra mile through training sessions to equip the workers with safety awareness skills as well as promoting vigilance among them. These measures will not only protect the organizations welfare but also the worker and respective family’s welfare. A case study of a recent accident by a fork lift which caused a puncture of a 55 gallon drum leading to s pillage of a lethal liquid raw material will exploit in details all what entails in occupational hazards and its management
After the emergency radio call all the windows and ventilation were opened followed by the emergency door. From the uncertainty of the lethality of the spilt liquid (s) workers working within 40 feet radius of the incident point were evacuated and since power was disconnected it was replaced by a battery cell which was emergency tough to prevent the risk of fire in case the liquid was flammable. Fire extinguishers were kept on stand by, the emergency response team and the remaining workers a distance from the incident point were provided with masks to protect themselves in case the vapor observed was lethal (Desmond, 2006).Store attendant in the production plant was ordered to provide the record of all the liquids in the store, chemical composition and their hazard potential. In terms of toxic levels,
It was discovered that the strong acids and bases present were corrosive to an extent that they were dangerous when inhaled and could corrode the drum containing the flammable liquid which was already lying on the floor and therefore called for immediate evacuation of all the remaining workers in the plant. On using acid and base detectors, it ruled out the presence of a base so the chances were that the liquid was either a flammable or an acid. Acids are known to be very toxic their lethality ranging from body tissue corrosion to bone and metal corrosion for example in the case of hydrofluoric acid. They are not commonly flammable but they are known for their combustion if they come into contact with other chemicals.
Flammable liquids are known for not only catching fire but also igniting the fire themselves when in certain conditions. Their lethal level is inversely proportional to their density burning with a loud explosion extending to a large area within no time. It was only the emergency team that was allowed to be there and all were advised to have their gas masks and fire proof clothing on. The fallen drum containing the flammable liquid was carefully lifted using an electromagnetic enhanced pulley and was first confirmed to be leak proof. It was only the drum ruptured by the forklift which was leaking, consequently confirmed that there existed only one liquid on the floor and a laboratory test confirmed it as concentrated sulfuric acid (Desmond, 2006).
The recommended sodium hydroxide alkali neutralizer was administered and the work place was confirmed safe. Injuries and deaths experienced in the work place as a result of accidents are known to be the most painful loss to the worker’s relatives and friends and therefore a lot of care and vigilance is required to prevent these accidents from happening. These accidents may lead to exposure of lethal chemicals in the environment which can lead to both short term and long term negative environmental impacts. Hazardous substances can range from gases, solid, liquids or even radiations for example those in the category of non biodegradable lethal substances (Desmond, 2006).
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