Commentary: Chemical spill is an example

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A chemical spill, or actually a tanker truck driver not paying attention while doing his job, was reported in early January at Ames, Iowa, in the Iowa State University Research Park.

“Police and the fire department had to respond to a “gas plume originating from an above ground storage container and nearby truck” with the plume drifting toward a busy highway. Traffic was diverted off Highway 30 and University Boulevard was closed. The fire department misted the plume of gas to knock down its spread.

The plume and spill originated, according to a police report from the Ames Daily Tribune, when the driver of a tank truck hauling sulfuric acid started pumping into a tank containing hydrochloric acid.

Although this isn’t an agricultural accident, it is a prime example of what can happen if tanks aren’t properly placarded or employees are not trained or employees are nonchalant about their job responsibilities. The reminder is that training and more training is important.

And after the fact of an accident what is the proper response? Employees have to have it pounded into their head over and over about proper safety gear and what to do in case of an emergency.

In this case, the driver of the truck was taken to the hospital because of inhalation of the resulting gas that occurred from mixing the two acids together.

No buildings were ultimately evaluated, but everyone in the area was told to stay inside. The company was negatively affected with a costly situation in which to deal. Remediation of the problem wasn’t instant as the emergency responders were on the site for hours to try and figure out what to do next.


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