December, 2020

This is a repeating event

202011DecAll DayEnvironmental Enterprises Toxic Release 2002Environmental Enterprises Cincinnati (US-OH) Origin: CSB Lessons:Asset integrity,Commitment & Culture,Operating Procedures,Workforce InvolvementIndustry:Waste TreatmentCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Material incompatibilityIncident:Gas/vapour/mist/etc release to airHazard:Flammable,ToxicCause:Organized ProceduresImpact:HUMAN (On Site Injuries)Consequence:< 100 InjuriesMaterial:Hydrogen Sulfide

Summary

At approximately 2:00 pm on December 11, 2002, a maintenance employee entered the wastewater treatment (WWT) room at Environmental Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), in Cincinnati, Ohio, to retrieve a tool. His path brought him directly alongside the WWT clarifier, an open-top tank with a conical bottom for settling solids (Figure 1).

As the mechanic approached the clarifier, he noticed a “rotten egg” odor that became stronger as he moved forward. He suddenly felt pressure in his lungs and was unable to breathe. He attempted to flee the area but was overcome by hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas and collapsed.

Fortunately, fellow employees found the victim a few moments later and pulled him to safety. He recovered, and there were no other injuries. .

KEY ISSUES:
• HAZARD COMMUNICATION
• OPERATING PROCEDURES
• MANAGEMENT OVERSIGHT
• MECHANICAL INTEGRITY

ROOT CAUSES:
1. The facility had no written procedures for operating the WWT area.
2. The operator responsible for the WWT area had no formal training in waste treatment or chemistry.
3. This incident may have been avoided if the operator had been aware of the possible reactions that can produce H2S gas.
4. EEI did not have a formal system for investigating incidents and communicating findings to employees.
5. The facility did not implement procedures or assign responsibilities for calibrating, inspecting, and maintaining the H2S detector.
6. Management oversight could have ensured that then proper treatment methods were used.


Image Credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

Time

Fri 11 Dec 2020 - Fri 11 Dec 2020

Location

Environmental Enterprises

Environmental Enterprises Incorporated, 4650 Spring Grove Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45232, United States

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