Accident: Union Carbide Corp. Nitrogen Asphyxiation Incident
Location: Location: Hahnville, LA
Accident Occurred On: 03/27/1998 | Final Report Released On: 02/23/1999
Accident Type: Confined Space / Asphyxiation
Investigation Status: The final summary report on this investigation was approved on February 23, 1999.
On March 27, 1998, one worker was killed and another seriously injured when they were asphyxiated by nitrogen at Union Carbide Corporation's Taft/Star Manufacturing Plant in Hahnville, Louisiana. The incident occurred inside a temporary enclosure the workers had erected over the end of large open gas pipe, where the workers were conducting a black light inspection. The workers were not aware that the pipe was being purged with nitrogen, creating an oxygen-deficient atmosphere.
Communicate the findings of this report to your membership.
Conduct a study concerning the appropriateness and feasibility of odorizing nitrogen in order to warn personnel of the presence of nitrogen when it is used in confined spaces.
Issue a safety alert that addresses the hazards and provides safety guidelines for the use of temporary enclosures that are erected around equipment containing hazardous substances.
Post signs containing the warning "Danger, Confined Space: Do Not Enter Without Authorization" or similar wording at potential entryways when tanks, vessels, pipes, or other similar chemical industry equipment are opened. When nitrogen is added to a confined space, post an additional sign that warns personnel of the potential nitrogen hazard.
Ensure that the plant safety program addresses the control of hazards created by erecting temporary enclosures around equipment that may trap a dangerous atmosphere in the enclosure if the equipment leaks or vents hazardous material.