23 May 2011 16:37 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Two people were killed at Shintech’s chlor-alkali plant construction site in Plaquemine, Louisiana, the company said on Monday.
The workers were Tommy Rivet, employed by Shintech, and a contract worker identified as Tory Sanchez, employed by Performance Contractors, the company said in a statement. The incident happened on Sunday at about 12:00 hours Plaquemine time (17:00 GMT)
No other parts of Shintech’s facility or the surrounding Iberville Parish community were affected by the incident, the company said.
“It will obviously be some time before we know exactly what happened, but our primary focus is on working with the families to answer their questions and address their needs,” plant manager David Wise said in the company statement.
The accident happened when the contractor went to retrieve some tools left behind inside a vessel’s confined space and became unconscious, said state police spokesman Doug Cain, a spokesman for the Louisiana State Police, which is investigating the accident.
Company workers were alerted. Afterwards, the Shintech employee went inside the vessel and also became unconscious.
When the state troopers arrived, they found that the two people were dead, Cain said. The two suffered injuries from being in an “oxygen-deficient environment”, but troopers were still determining what exactly happened.
Autopsies are being conducted. No chemicals were released from the plant, Cain said.
The site, which is under construction, will house Shintech’s new chlor-alkali plant in Plaquemine, Louisiana.
The US Chemical Safety Board, a federal safety agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents, was aware of the accident, said agency spokesman Daniel Horowitz.
Daniel Horowitz said the agency was still gathering information by phone and would determine later today whether the agency would launch an investigation.
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened an investigation into the accident, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Todd.
Shintech was scheduled to begin production at its expanded Plaquemine site on 1 July.
The caustic soda expansion was built to produce an additional 580,000 dry metric tonnes/year.
Last December, Shintech completed its expansion of its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in the complex, with a total PVC capacity of 600,000 tonnes/year.
Shintech also has a 590,000 tonne/year PVC plant in Addis, Louisiana.
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