Poultry Plant Gas Leak Under OSHA Investigation
A Jan. 28 nitrogen gas leak killed six people and injured 12 others.
- By Nikki Johnson-Bolden
- Feb 03, 2021
OSHA is actively investigating a fatal nitrogen gas leak that occured at a Georgia poultry processing plant on Jan. 28, according to NPR.
The nitrogen gas leak at the Foundation Food Group in Gainesville, Ga. caused 130 workers to be evacuated from the facility, while six people were killed and 12 others were seriously injured. The leak happened as the result of “unplanned maintenance.” It was reported by the New York Times that the leak was caused by a ruptured line that was carrying liquid nitrogen, a component to freezing chicken.
Although there is an ongoing investigation into the exact cause of the leak, it has already been suspected that said investigation will be lengthy.
“Depending on the complexity of the investigation, it may take up to several years,” said Katherine A. Lemos, CEO and chairwoman of the Chemical Safety Board.
The nitrogen gas leak was fatal because the nitrogen gas “pushes out oxygen from the air and makes it unbreathable.” Additional damage to the plant was avoided when a manager turned off an external isolation valve that pumped liquid nitrogen into processing lines after the leak began.
Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.