IMCA reports an incident where a worker was exposed to chemical vapours after mixing bleach and toilet cleaner.
worker mixed bleach and toilet cleaner whilst working in the confines of a toilet area onboard a tug. The two chemicals mixed and there was a chemical reaction.
As a result the worker was exposed to chemical vapours which resulted in breathing discomfort. Onboard medical treatment was required, followed by onshore cautionary medical assessment. The worker was diagnosed with Chemical Bronchitis.
Investigation revealed that the employee involved had no awareness of the consequences of mixing these chemicals.
- Routine activity without thought;
- Lack of training, lack of knowledge.
It was realised that the company focus on chemicals awareness was directed more on industrial chemicals with a limited focus on domestic chemicals. Actions were taken:
- Training materials were provided regarding domestic chemicals;
- Risk assessments were updated with regard to the mixing of chemicals;
- There was a review of domestic and industrial chemical stocks, ensuring stock management and seeking to minimise the number of chemicals held onboard;
- Access to all chemicals (industrial and domestic) should be controlled.