A worker in the Tennessee Coca-Cola plant was seriously injured and the entire plant had to be evacuated earlier this month. According to the local fire department, the worker was mixing what was supposed to be chlorine dioxide when it spilled. While the cause of the chemical accident is not known, it seems the container might have been over-pressurized, which caused the chemical to “rupture violently” onto the worker.
It was later found that the solution was actually a chlorite solution, which can emit a hazardous vapor. The container held 250 gallons of the chemical and firefighters had to pour water on it to control the vapor. As a precaution, 216 employees were evacuated.
Companies Must Protect Workers from Workplace Accidents
Coca-Cola is one of the most well-known soda pop makers in the world. While the company’s headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia, they have processing plants and warehouses all over the world, one of which is right here in Tennessee. Unfortunately, the company has had run-ins with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company has had several plant locations receive fines for safety violations, including:
- Obstructed exit routes
- Lack of emergency exit signs
- Failure to train employees on forklift operation
- Improperly storing compressed gas containers
Workers at Coca-Cola plants must receive the proper training to work with heavy equipment, especially forklifts. Improperly stored compressed gas containers can cause an explosion, or cause gas leaks that can lead to breathing problems or worse.
If you have sustained an on-the-job injury in a chemical accident or other type of workplace accident, it is important you follow these steps:
- Inform your supervisor as soon as possible (preferably in writing, as well)
- Seek medical attention
- Fill out a formal accident report
- Consult with a Tennessee workers’ compensation attorney to help you file a worker’s comp claim, which will cover your medical treatment and lost wages.
Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville personal injury attorney who fights to help those injured in chemical accidents.
“May the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17