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Workplace fatality related to perchloroethylene exposures.
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1996 Mar; 11(3):156-157
A case report described the death of a worker overexposed to perchloroethylene (127184) at a plastic products facility. A 17 year old laborer was told to clean the inside of metal molds used to form plastic containers. The task involved applying perchloroethylene to a rag and wiping the mold. The mold was a 40 gallon container that was 32 inches deep. The worker propped the container upright and leaned inside. He was overcome by perchloroethylene vapors in the enclosed space. An autopsy listed the cause of death as asphyxiation due to exposure to toxic vapors. The company employed three people and did not have a written safety program. A toxicological analysis of postmortem blood found a perchloroethylene concentration of 23.24 milligrams/liter (mg/l), which exceeded the biological exposure index of 1mg/l. The author concludes that the fatality occurred because the employer and employee did not recognize the potential hazard posed by the cleaning task and the health of the employee performing the task was not adequately protected by the employer. To prevent similar occurrences, the employer should provide workers with tools that reach areas to be cleaned without having to put their head inside and to conduct air sampling.
NIOSH-Author; Case-studies; Humans; Chlorinated-ethylenes; Plastics-industry; Blood-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Toxic-vapors
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division