Post #367 – Workers Back on the Job Following Leak

Article from the OH&S Canada magazine

Written By: Jason Contant


Approximately 20 workers at a Springbrook, Prince Edward Island company that ships and grows fresh shellfish were back on the job after being exposed to high, but as-yet undetermined, levels of carbon monoxide (CO).

The Prince Edward Aqua Farms Inc. employees returned April 3, one day after a CO leak involving a forklift, says George Stewart, oh&s director for PEI’s WCB. Some workers were taken to hospital after reporting feeling ill, Stewart says.

When inspectors arrived and conducted CO monitoring, he says, high levels were detected. The precise measurements, however, were unavailable.

Prince Edward Aqua Farms was issued a single order to keep CO levels below threshold limit values — permissible occupational exposure limits for workers over an eight-hour period — of 25 ppm. Stewart reports the company has also taken the forklift out of commission.

Jerry Bidgood, general manager of Prince Edward Aqua Farms, says that company officials have determined a malfunctioning valve on the forklift, which was being used to load and unload a truck, caused the CO leak. At press time, the company was adding additional permanent CO detectors and determining “where it was best to put in more ventilation,” Bidgood says.

The oh&s committee members are also gathering to discuss the incident, the evacuation plan and any possible changes to procedures, he adds.

My opinion

As a certified Propane instructor, I never get used to the abuse of any propane appliance be it a forklift (liquid withdrawal) or some other device (probable vapour withdrawal) system.

Any business, using propane appliances, needs to know that CO (carbon monoxide) has more than one set of exposure values. The TWAEV (time weighted average exposure value) is used for an 8 hour period (25 ppm, parts per million) or STEV (short term exposure value) is used for a 15 minute period (100 ppm, parts per million)

Whatever the agent, be it chemical, biological or other, the ACGIH (American conference of governmental hygienists) has the answers. Get the answers from them and you can determine the amount of ventilation needed to keep your workplace air at the required limit.

Remember  In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Chemical Safety Awareness’ and ‘WHMIS’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

Work and Play  safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc

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