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Hazmat called in after 20 workers suffered workplace injuries

Company owners in California must ensure that all workers are aware of the dangers posed by chemical substances, even if chemicals are only used for cleaning purposes. The fire department of Tracy was recently called to an early morning emergency at Taylor Farms involving a chemical spill. Upon arrival, it was determined that the cleaning crew had mixed some chemicals that caused workplace injuries to 20 employees.

It was reported that chlorine and acetic acid were mixed. The U.S. Poison Control Center explained that acetic is an ingredient found in vinegar, and chlorine is commonly found in bleach. However, the combination of these two chemicals creates chlorine gas that can attack the mucous membranes of the lungs and noses of people in the area.

The 20 employees who were affected by these dangerous gases were transported to different hospitals in the area, and it was reported that their injuries ranged from moderate to serious. There was concern for the effect the chemical gases can have on residents in the surrounding areas, but it was later determined that there was no threat. However, the Defense Logistics Agency depot's hazmat team remained in the building for some time to determine the area in which the vapor was present and methods for getting rid of it to ensure no other workers were affected.

Although none of the 20 workers who suffered workplace injuries in this incident was severely injured, they will have medical bills to settle. Also, those who had to spend time away from work as the result of the chemical exposure will forfeit wages for that time. Fortunately, these losses may be recovered through the California workers' compensation insurance program. Medical expenses and lost wages typically form part of the benefits paid by the insurance fund.

Source: goldenstatenewspapers.com, "Hazmat accident closes Valpico Road", Oct. 15, 2015

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