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DHR - SAFETY ALERT MEMO 98-02
|DATE: May 15,
INCIDENT TYPE: Hazardous Material Exposure
LOCATION: District 10
TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Hazardous Material Clean up
THE ACCIDENT: On April 17, 1998, two Caltrans employees were replacing guide posts when they heard of a nearby powder spill on the scanner. They traveled to the location and when they arrived they noticed a CHP Officer standing in a blue powder reading the package. The CHP Officer requested help from the Caltrans employees. The Caltrans employees grabbed a shovel and broom to assist in the cleanup. As they were starting the clean up a truck-trailer went by and caused the powder to circulate, contaminating all three persons. The Leadworker, a Caltrans HazMat Specialist, and a County Health Representative arrived on the scene a short time later. One of the Caltrans employees complained that he was short of breath. The decision was made to decontaminate all three individuals and send them to the hospital as a safety precaution. They were checked at the hospital and released. The material was identified as Kocide 101, a fungicide consisting of 77% Copper Hydroxide. This material is an irritant to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system.
CONCLUSIONS: The Caltrans employees failed to observe the basic precautions that are taught in all First Responder courses. CHP Officers receive similar training. Even though the CHP Officer in this case had read the material label, the District HazMat Manager/Specialist should have been consulted prior to any cleanup efforts.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Always remember that the first operational thought for all first responders should be safety. Stay away (upwind, uphill, and upstream) from any potentially hazardous material. Make the necessary notifications and do not attempt any clean up unless you have received the necessary training and have the proper personal-protective equipment.
HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF SAFETY AND HEALTH (916) 227-2640