Workers ‘evacuate’ treatment plant after ‘chlorine leakage’
Borneo Post Online, 14 November 2013
FOR SAFETY REASON: Fire personnel don gas protection suit before starting the rescue mission
WRAPPED UP: Medical personnel attending to one of the ‘victims’ who has fallen unconscious during the accident
PROPER PROCEDURE: Chlorine leakage is very hazardous. Fire personnel and victims must use the decontamination shower to clear themselves from all possible contamination at hot zone before entering the cold zone
MIRI: The work schedule of Laku staff at Lambir Treatment Plant were interrupted yesterday morning when an accidental drop of a chlorine drum by two of its operators, caused the siren to scream to signal evacuation.
Its Emergency Response Team rushed to check on the injured operators while an Action Team was sent to check and contain the ruptured points at the drum edge that led to a leakage, caused by the incident.
A little more than 10 minutes later, Fire and Rescue Department, police, doctors and medical assistants from Miri Hospital arrived at the site to put the situation under control. Despite no death reported, one of the five injured staff was unconscious.
Well, not to worry, the scenario was part of Laku’s first mock drill.
Organised at the plant located about 15km from the city centre, the drill was part of Laku’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP), in compliance with Regulation 18, Occupational Safety & Health (Control of Industrial Major Accident Hazards) Regulations 1996.
The high usage of liquid chlorine in water treatment processes meant the quantity of chlorine stored on site has exceeded the threshold quantity as listed in the regulation, thus the site is a major hazard installation.
Under the ERP procedure, should any accident occurs, a typical ERP must include the reporting of an emergency situation, dissemination of information of the situation with announcement made through public announcement (PA) system, setting up command posts like Main Incident Controller, Site Incident Controller and First Aid Post before the evacuation of staff to clear the building to prevent any casualties.
Speaking to reporters after the drill, Senior Fire Superintendent Law Poh Kiong said the Fire and Rescue Department would usually focus on rescuing victims while containing the situation.
“Chlorine leakage is a serious matter as it is very corrosive if in high concentration. Therefore, to prevent injury to fire fighters during rescue mission, Gas Protection Suit is a necessary gear.
“After the victims have been rescued, both fire fighters and victims must use decontamination shower in the designated hot zone, before clearing themselves to cold zone,” he said, adding that the procedure was similar when dealing with chemical leakage, but varied according to situation.
Law also revealed that about 30 fire personnel from Miri Central and Lopeng stations were involved in the mock drill. Among them were Laku chief executive officer Wong Tiong Kai and its Miri area manager Lo Su Onn. .