January 8, 2018, during a meeting hall renovation, a
group of construction workers faced panic after one of their fellow members
fainted while stripping off paint from the walls of a suburban real estate
office near Holden hill.
During the event, a group of construction workers were
appointed a task to remove the previous paint coating and re-apply a new layer
of paint. The owner of the property; Nadim Rachid wanted a new look to his
meeting hall. He demanded for a quick job as he wanted to surprise his fellow
workmates. So the renovation company sent 3 workers along with various tools
and chemicals suitable for the job. There were about 11 people working at the
facility at the time. However, the meeting hall was cleared out for renovation
painters arrived at 10 am and got into their job right away. They brought in
buckets and canisters containing various industrial grade paint removers and
chemicals. Nadim greeted them in and offered to contact him if there was a need
of any help. The painters started off by unsealing the canisters and unpacking
their equipment. Each of them decided to take on an individual task. While the
paint removal process a worker named Nash Brown started experiencing dizziness
but ignored it and continued with his work. A few moments later he fell
unconscious on the ground. His fellow painters rushed in to check on him, and
discovered a strange smell in the area. They quickly carried him out the hall.
When the employees saw this, they quickly informed the owner and everyone was
asked to evacuate the building. When the ambulance arrived, Nash was
immediately taken to the nearest hospital. A special team was called for the
investigation of the area. Later it was discovered that in order to finish the
job quickly, Nash had 3 paint-removal canisters open at the same time. This led
to a huge release of Methylene Chloride fumes in the air which made the air
toxic and resulted in his unconsciousness.
Methylene Chloride is a transparent, clear,
non-flammable, volatile chemical which is commonly used as solvent in paint
removers. It has a sweet, pleasant smell and is highly toxic when consumed in
high concentrations. Inhaling high concentrations of methylene chloride affects
the lungs and the nervous system dramatically.
Skin and eye contact can lead to various degrees of irritation. It is a
potential lungs and liver carcinogen. Workers who are exposed to this on a
regular basis face various short or long term effects. Short term effects
include acute neurotoxicity and harm to the central nervous system. Continuous
chronic exposure can lead to liver toxicity, liver and lung cancer. In extreme
cases, it can also cause death.
Nash was admitted to the hospital within 15 minutes of
the exposure. However, he was diagnosed with some degree of damage to his
nervous system and is being treated accordingly. The building was evacuated and
it was made sure that the chemical fumes did not spread beyond the meeting
hall. All the canisters and buckets were re-sealed and removed from the
building. The remaining fumes were cleared out using ventilation and
decontamination. People were made aware of the incident and all the panic was
resolved. Painting and renovation work resumed the following day with more care
and by using low-toxic level paint removers.
After this incident, the following is recommended:
any renovation event, safety precautions should be taken into consideration.
should be properly ventilated.
should be equipped with proper apparatus, breathing equipment while dealing
with toxic substances.
first-aid training should be implemented.
Fortunately, there were no other casualties due to
this incident, however proper regular