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Alabama Firm Fined $232K After 2 Workers Die at Chemical Plant

Chemical operators were exposed to toxic fluorocarbons.

An Alabama-based fluorochemical company has been fined $232,000 after an investigation into the deaths of two workers at one of its factories.

On Jan. 5, OSHA said it determined that Dakin America exposed three chemical operators to toxic fluorocarbons and other hazardous chemicals on July 2, 2021.

It caused the workers to suffer respiratory failure. One died at a hospital Aug. 10 and another on Sept. 28, while the third was treated and released after a week.

OSHA said the exposure occurred while the three were conducting maintenance activities requiring a processing line break, a nitrogen purge and atmospheric venting of equipment.

The investigation found that Dakin failed to institute critical safe work practices mandated by OSHA.

Daikin also failed to perform air monitoring to assess chemical exposures and provide written procedures clearly identifying required respiratory protection.

The company was cited for nine serious violations and one willful violation.

An OSHA area director commented: "This tragic event should serve as a lesson for all employers to ensure effective safety protocols are established before initiating maintenance activities involving chemical processing equipment and systems."

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