Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dumpster injuries or deaths ! (Which is great!)

Everytime we read about a dumpster fire fueled by aluminium shavings, grindings, fines, etc. in our industry we expect to read about an explosion that results from when firemen unknowingly place water upon the flames to extinguish it. The expectation is based on the numerous incidents where a dumpster fire resulted in the injury or death of a fireman. Gladly this recent story has a happy ending. Here it is:

A dumpster that caught fire Thursday, June 29, 2017 in the morning created a lot of stir in the state of New York in the USA. .

According to officials, around 9:45 a.m. two fire departments responded to a chemical fire in a dumpster. The dumpster is owned by an aluminium foundry, the business next door to a titanium machine company. The machine company was not involved in the incident.

The County Haz-Mat was called to the scene. An aluminum powder had caught fire in the dumpster. Haz-Mat used a special agent to put the fire out.

Because it was a chemical fire, a reverse- 911 call was sent out to neighbors, advising them to remain indoors until the fire was completely out.

There were no injuries reported. Haz-Mat considered the incident “minor” in nature, however all volunteers who responded had to be checked out because of the chemical involved.

We are ecstatic that the fire departments were prepared and knew what to do in this incident. Why? Because we are haunted by the photos of the aftermaths, the deceased fire fighters’ names, their photos, etc. of the numerous times where a fire department was unfamiliar with the hazards in our plants and an incident occurred. We cannot forget them. Just as we cannot forget every incident that we post. On a recent visit to an aluminium plant. We observed an older piece of machinery without the proper safety mechanisms installed. At the exit meeting we mentioned this observation to plant management. We received the response “well how often does someone get hurt by that?”. We then went into detail how over the past 6 months two separate incidents. One involving a fatality, and another involving an arm being ripped off a worker because of a similar circumstance involving the same machinery.

Back to this story, we feel that all injuries and fatalities are sad. But, a death of a fire fighter responding to one of our plants is simply horrible. Because every fireman who dies, dies primarily because of a lack of knowledge. On our travels we talk about the importance of training your local fire department(s) to the hazards in your plants, and how to deal with them if an incident occurs.

The Aluminium Times Magazine had an article about aluminium companies being proactive and training their local fire departments.

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