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Plea after factory death

06 June 2011

A man has died from exposure to chemicals following an explosion at a factory in Laverton North, Victoria in Australia recently.

MFB spokesman John Rees said the man had tried to decontaminate himself by washing the chemicals off in a shower, but collapsed and suffered a heart attack after the incident last Thursday. Paramedic team manager Mark Collins said paramedics treated the man for about 20 minutes, managing his airway and using IV drugs in an attempt to restart his heart. "Unfortunately the man died at the scene." The incident at the Nufarm factory in Pipe Road was the third work-related fatality in Victoria this month, prompting WorkSafe to plead with employees and employers to continually assess their safety. The 54-year-old man ingested molten phenol after working on an exterior pipe when a flange broke and sprayed him with the toxic chemical. Three workmates tried to revive him after the incident about 11.15am. Paramedics and MFB officers arrived shortly after and performed CPR. Another man involved in the resuscitation suffered minor chemical burns to his arm and was taken to Footscray Hospital in a stable condition. Four others affected by the chemical were taken to hospital for treatment.
WorkSafe spokesman Michael Birt urged employees to look at the jobs they were doing and have a clear understanding of the safety procedures. "Incidents like this are a reminder of the need for employers, managers, supervisors and workers to have, and consistently apply, good safety practices." Officials are still investigating the incident. A report will be prepared for the coroner. Nufarm management could not be reached for comment.

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