Chlorine accidents are one of the biggest concerns workers face on America’s railroads. The chemical is also taking a significant human toll in other industries.
An article in Scientific American recalled a recent accident at Tulare Iron and Metal Inc., a recycling facility in California where 23 people were hospitalized after a chlorine leak in 2010. Some of the workers were kept in hospital for as long as 10 days and were on life support. They continue to fight the ill effects of chlorine poisoning.
The article pulls no punches about the seriousness of chlorine spills. Over the last decade, it has been involved in hundreds of accidents across the United States, injuring thousands and claiming lives.
When it comes to deadly chemicals, chlorine is second only to carbon monoxide in terms of the number of injuries and deaths it causes.
Railroad workers have many reasons to be wary of chlorine. It’s transported in tank cars that have known weaknesses and are prone to rupture during derailments.
Graniteville Spill was Among Most Serious Chlorine Accidents
The worst chlorine gas incident in the history of the United States occurred in Graniteville, SC in 2005. The derailment of 18 freight cars led to the release of 120,000 pounds of the gas in the railroad town. The results were grim. Nine people lost their lives and at least 1,400 people were exposed to the noxious gas.
More than 500 people were treated in local hospitals. Some reported serious lung issues. Even today, some people are struggling because of the effects of the Graniteville chlorine leak.
The derailment of the Norfolk Southern train in Graniteville left a long-lasting legacy of pain. I helped some of the victims in the months after this terrible accident.
Chlorine accidents are normally unexpected. Unlike carbon monoxide, chlorine gas is visible. It gives off a yellow-greenish cloud.
Some useful information about chlorine accidents is provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If you work on the railroad, you face potential exposure to numerous dangerous materials including coal dust, asbestos, and inflammable materials. If your health has been impacted by dangerous chemicals or other substances, you have likely grounds to make a claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Call us today for a free consultation at (866) 455-6657.