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Investigation into plant accident raises additional questions

In early July, an accident at a Texas waste water treatment plan left two men critically injured. One man has since passed away and the other man's condition was unknown to media at the time investigation details were published. An investigation into this accident appears to have raised as many questions as it answered.

The incident in question occurred after alarms in the plant notified workers that water was pooling on a basement floor. Two maintenance mechanics responded to work on the issue and they were told by other employees that it smelled like gas in the area. The workers reportedly put on breathing devices, as multiple coworkers said they were seen with those devices on at points during this process.

According to the investigation report, the alarm sounded at 2:42 p.m. At 3:30 p.m., coworkers said they saw the mechanics put on breathing devices before they went into the basement. At 4 p.m., an operator making rounds said he saw the two mechanics with the devices on.

However, at 5 p.m., the plant operator returned from rounds and found the two mechanics unconscious on the floor. At that time, they did not have their safety equipment on. In fact, the safety equipment was reportedly in a box at the top of the stairs while the individuals lay unconscious somewhere below. It is still unknown why the individuals took off their masks and what happened between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The plant employees immediately called rescue workers, who arrived and removed the two individuals. A back up maintenance team worked to solve the leak and air-quality problem, which was reportedly resolved by 11:30 p.m.

Reports indicate that everyone was following protocol up until 4 p.m. on the day of the accident. Everyone had also received training on such a situation. This case is a tragic example of how workplace accidents can happen to anyone. If you have lost someone in a workplace accident, consider speaking with a lawyer to understand your options for financial recovery.

Source: Texoma's homepage, "City Releases Investigation Findings of Treatment Plant Accident," July 19, 2016

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