Acidic vapour injures 23 workers in Sarnia

Acidic vapour injures 23 workers in Sarnia

Postby pfpcnews » Sun Jul 30, 2006 8:20 pm

Acidic vapour injures 23 workers in Sarnia

Guelph Mercury - July 29, 2006

An industrial accident at Suncor Energy in Sarnia sent 23 maintenance workers to hospital on Thursday.

Acidic vapour escaped from a sewer at the plant around 9:30 a.m.

A "small amount" of highly corrosive hydrofluoric acid and hydrocarbons was released from a nearby sewer, said Suncor vice-president Ian Savill.

Half the workers were treated for minor respiratory symptoms, including burning in the mouth and throat, said hospital spokesperson Toni Adey.

The other half needed no treatment.

"We regret the anxiety the family members went through," Savill said.

SOURCE:
http://tinyurl.com/rg6sx
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Escape of acidic vapour injures 23 workers at Suncor Energy in Sarnia

By: The Canadian Press

SARNIA, Ont. (CP) -- An industrial accident at Suncor Energy in Sarnia sent 23 maintenance workers to hospital on Thursday.

Acidic vapour escaped from a sewer in the plant's alkaline unit around 9:30 a.m.

A "small amount" of highly corrosive hydrofluoric acid and hydrocarbons was released from a nearby sewer, said Suncor vice-president Ian Savill.

"Immediately, the work was shut down and the leak was completely contained," Savill said.

"Our attention turned to the health and safety of some workers who were downwind and suffered exposure to hydrofluoric acid."

With the help of numerous ambulances and a Sarnia Transit bus, 23 workers were taken to hospital.

All were assessed and half required treatment for minor respiratory symptoms, including burning in the mouth and throat, said hospital spokesperson Toni Adey.

The other half needed no treatment.

A union official said the incident showed the need for workers to be better informed during plant emergencies. No alarms sounded when a maintenance job on a pump in the alkalation unit went wrong releasing the vapour.

"Everyone is concerned about what's going to happen next," said Ross Tius, business manager for the Pipefitters Local 663.

And, without any alarm sounding, hundreds of employees continued to work without any knowledge of the incident.

"It's not good when there's a lack of care associated with the response," Tius said.

Suncor officials agreed with Tius that misinformation started to circulate in the community shortly after the incident.

Unconfirmed media reports suggested some of the workers were in critical condition when that was not the case.

"We regret the anxiety the family members went through," Savill said. "There was a gap in communication, getting the information out to everybody."

(Sarnia Observer)
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