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Georgia-Pacific Corp. Hydrogen Sulfide Poisoning
FINAL REPORT: Final Investigation Report
Location: Pennington, AL
Accident Occurred On: 01/16/2002
Final Report Released On: 11/20/2002
Accident Type: Release
Company Name: Georgia Pacific Corp.

statistics

Total # of Recommendations
16
Total # of Open Recommendations
0
Total # of Closed Recommendations
16
Total % of Open 0 vs. Closed 100

investigation information

Image
Accident Description
On January 16, 2002, highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas leaked from a sewer manway at the Georgia-Pacific Naheola mill in Pennington, Alabama. Several people working near the manway were exposed to the gas. Two contractors from Burkes Construction, Inc., were killed. Eight people were injured--seven employees of Burkes Construction and one employee of Davison Transport, Inc. Choctaw County paramedics who transported the victims to hospitals reported symptoms of hydrogen sulfide exposure.
Investigation Status
The final report on this investigation was approved on November 20, 2002.


 

Recommendations

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
2002-01-I-AL-10

Evaluate and amend as necessary the ATSDR Medical Management Guidelines to consider the risk to responders posed by exposure to victims of high levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. Specify procedures for adequate decontamination. Communicate the results of this activity to relevant organizations, such as the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA)
2002-01-I-AL-13

Communicate the findings and recommendations of this report to your membership.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Burkes Construction, Inc.
2002-01-I-AL-11

Train your employees on the specific hazards of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), including appropriate emergency response practices, in areas where Georgia-Pacific has identified this material as a hazard.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Davison Transport, Inc.
2002-01-I-AL-2

Communicate the findings and recommendations of this report to those employees who haul or handle sodium hydrosulfide

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Georgia Pacific Corporation
2002-01-I-AL-1

Conduct periodic safety audits of Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper mills in light of the findings of this report. At a minimum, ensure that management systems are in place at the mills to: Evaluate process sewers where chemicals may collect and interact, and identify potential hazardous reaction scenarios to determine if safeguards are in place to decrease the likelihood or consequences of such interactions. Take into account sewer system connections and the ability to prevent inadvertent mixing of materials that could react to create a hazardous condition.

Status: Closed - Exceeds Recommended Action
Closed - Exceeds Recommended Action (C - ERA) - Action on the recommendation meets and surpasses the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2002-01-I-AL-2

Conduct periodic safety audits of Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper mills in light of the findings of this report. At a minimum, ensure that management systems are in place at the mills to: Identify areas of the mill where hydrogen sulfide (H2S) could be present or generated, and institute safeguards (including warning devices) to limit personnel exposure. Require that personnel working in the area are trained to recognize the presence of H2S and respond appropriately. Update emergency response plans for such areas to include procedures for decontaminating personnel exposed to toxic gas.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2002-01-I-AL-3

Conduct periodic safety audits of Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper mills in light of the findings of this report. At a minimum, ensure that management systems are in place at the mills to: Apply good engineering and process safety principles to process sewer systems. For instance, ensure that hazard reviews and management of change (MOC) analyses are completed when additions or changes are made where chemicals could collect and react in process sewers. (Such principles may be found in publications from the Center for Chemical Process Safety [CCPS].)

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2002-01-I-AL-4

Communicate the findings and recommendations of this report to the workforce and contractors at all Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper mills.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Georgia Pacific Naheola Mill
2002-01-I-AL-5

Evaluate mill process sewer systems where chemicals may collect and react to identify potential hazardous reaction scenarios to determine if safeguards are in place to decrease the likelihood or consequences of such interactions. Evaluate sewer connections and ensure that materials that could react to create a hazardous condition are not inadvertently mixed, and that adequate mitigation measures are in place if such mixing does occur.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2002-01-I-AL-6

Establish programs to comply with recommendations from manufacturers of sodium hydrosulfide (NaSH) regarding its handling, such as preventing it from entering sewers because of the potential for acidic conditions.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2002-01-I-AL-7

Establish programs to require the proper design and maintenance of manway seals on closed sewers where hazardous materials are present.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2002-01-I-AL-8

Identify areas of the plant where hydrogen sulfide (H2S) could be present or generated, and institute safeguards (including warning devices) to limit personnel exposure. Institute a plan and procedures for dealing with potential H2S releases in these areas, and require that anyone who may be present is adequately trained on appropriate emergency response practices, including attempting rescue. Require contractors working in these areas to train their employees on the specific hazards of H2S, including appropriate emergency response practices.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2009-01-I-AL-9

Update the Naheola mill emergency response plan to include procedures for decontaminating personnel who are brought to the first-aid station. Include specific instructions for decontaminating personnel exposed to H2S so that they do not pose a secondary exposure threat to medical personnel.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
2002-01-I-AL-14

Communicate the findings and recommendations of this report to your membership.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE)
2009-01-I-AL-15

Communicate the findings and recommendations of this report to your membership.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Pulp and Paper Safety Association (PPSA)
2009-01-I-AL-16

Communicate the findings and recommendations of this report to your membership.

Status: Closed - No Longer Applicable
Closed - No Longer Applicable (C - NLA) - Due to subsequent events, the recommendation action no longer applies (e.g., the facility was destroyed or the company went out of business).
 

 
 

Related News

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News Release April 15, 2005 - CSB Chairman Merritt Commends Georgia-Pacific Corporation for New Reactive Chemical Safety Program
4/15/2005
Washington, DC, April 15, 2005 - The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has presented the Georgia-Pacific Corporation with a certificate of recognition for the company's response to a CSB safety recommendation following a tragic accident at the company's Pennington, Alabama, pulp and paper mill in 2002.
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CSB Releases Safety Bulletin Warning of Dangers of Sodium Hydrosulfide (NaHS) in the Workplace; Outlines Safe Practices to Prevent Harm
7/15/2004
Washington, DC, July 15, 2004 - The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) today released a Safety Bulletin that warns of the dangers of sodium hydrosulfide and recommends safe practices to prevent accidents when handling the chemical. CSB investigators uncovered 45 accidents associated with sodium hydrosulfide that have caused 32 deaths and 176 injuries since 1971. They noted, however, that accident data are incomplete and there may have been additional deaths and injuries attributable to the chemical. The Safety Bulletin is an outgrowth of the Board's investigation of a January 2002 accident involving sodium hydrosulfide that caused two deaths and eight injuries at an Alabama paper mill.
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DSCN15082
U.S. Chemical Safety Board Votes 5-0 to Approve Georgia-Pacific Accident Report, Looks to Review Sewer Hazards
11/22/2002
(Washington, DC - November 22, 2002) The U.S. Chemical Safety Board voted 5-0 on November 20 to approve the final staff report into the root causes of the January 16, 2002, hydrogen sulfide gas leak at the Georgia-Pacific Naheola pulp and paper mill in Pennington, Alabama, which took the lives of two workers and injured another eight.
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