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Explosion and asphyxiation deaths among contract employees in industrial plants.

McCann M
Silver Spring, MD: The Center to Protect Workers' Rights, 2003 Dec; :1-5
Explosions and asphyxiations often cause deaths and injuries in chemical- producing and -using industries. A desire to prevent these incidents led to the formation of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), which went into full operation in 1998. The CSB works to help prevent chemical injuries and deaths by investigating chemical accidents and hazards and recommending actions to prevent further incidents. In its first annual report, the CSB (2001) reported on investigations of 11 incidents for 1998 and 1999 involving 40 deaths and 45 injuries in chemical-producing and -using industries. Subsequently, through 2003, the CSB had investigated or was investigating another 17 incidents involving 20 deaths and more than 100 injuries (2003a, 2003b). The 58 deaths involved employees of chemical plants and of construction contractors working at the plants. The investigation reports do not usually distinguish between the roles of plant and contract employees in the incidents. Contract employees are brought into a plant to perform projects, such as installation of new equipment, renovations, repair and maintenance, and sometimes even operation of equipment. The contract workers often are working in an environment that is new to them, so they may not be aware of special hazards in the plant. Failure to provide special training about plant hazards and procedures or to enforce safe work practices among contract employees can have serious consequences for contract employees and plant personnel. This CPWR study examines selected causes of death of contract construction employees in industrial plants in 1992-2001, as reported by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). No comparable figures on plant employees were obtained for this CPWR report.
Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Construction-materials; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-environment; Work-practices; Worker-health; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Industrial-environment; Industrial-gases; Industrial-hazards; Industrial-factory-workers; Explosions; Explosion-prevention; Explosive-atmospheres; Explosive-dusts; Explosive-gases; Explosive-hazards; Oxygen-deficient-atmospheres; Chemical-factory-workers; Chemical-manufacturing-industry; Chemical-processing; Chemical-reactions; Chemical-burns; Hazardous-materials; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Mortality-data; Training
Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO: CPWR, Suite 1000, 8484 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Source Name
Explosion and Asphyxiation Deaths among Contract Employees in Industrial Plants
Performing Organization
The Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division