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Old 11-08-2019, 07:59 AM
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Worker killed at Buffalo Wild Wings in Burlington MA


Just heard about this on the morning new on my way into work. It's not all that far away. It's already made the national news:

Quote:
‘Chemical Accident’ At Buffalo Wild Wings Leaves Worker Dead, 10 Hospitalized
One employee described the chemical as smelling like “ammonia and chlorine.”


A worker at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Burlington, Massachusetts died and 10 others were sickened after a chemical accident Thursday night.

Fire officials said the incident may have been caused by sodium hypochlorite, a chemical found in a floor cleaner called Super 8, local media reported.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/buffa...b02bf5793d9b07

It sounds like a classic case of mixing bleach (or "Super 8", which apparently contains the sodium hypochlorite from bleach) with acid or ammonia, which liberates chlorine gas. There have been numerous reports through the years about this kind of thing happening in bathrooms, with people mixing bleach with toilet cleaner. That's why they put the warning labels on about not mixing your cleaning products.

https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-org...cts-never-mix/


I just had a look at their spec sheets and the SDS sheet. Neither has a warning about mixing with other cleaners.

https://www.autochlor.com/chemical/super-8-sanitizer-2/

I feel really sorry about the people injured and especially the guy killed.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:22 AM
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That's right by my work, we've gone there several times after going to the movie theater next door. Hits close to home.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:35 AM
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I didn't do well in high school chemistry, but I think that mixture equals hydrochloric acid. Is that the case? What a shame.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:01 AM
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The SDS Sheet [warning: 140 KB PDF] does in fact note, on Page 3 of 4, "Incompatibility: Strong acids, nitrogen and oxidizers." But no, it doesn't say "Listen up, high school kid working part-time in the back of the restaurant: DON'T MIX THIS WITH AMMONIA, IT WILL KILL YOU." Maybe it should have.

One clue from the news coverage: they refer to "Super 8" as a "floor cleaner," whereas it's actually designed as a sanitizer for the final rinse of dishwashing. Long long ago when I managed a chicken joint, ammonia was the go-to for degreasing the floors, and so we used quaternary ammonium-based dish sanitizers; we actually had a "NO CHLORINE IN THE BUILDING" rule posted.

If someone put that chlorine-based dish sanitizer in a mop bucket, no telling what else had been used for mopping too.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjmlabs View Post
The SDS Sheet [warning: 140 KB PDF] does in fact note, on Page 3 of 4, "Incompatibility: Strong acids, nitrogen and oxidizers." But no, it doesn't say "Listen up, high school kid working part-time in the back of the restaurant: DON'T MIX THIS WITH AMMONIA, IT WILL KILL YOU." Maybe it should have.
The sad reality is that SDS sheets are either ignored or tossed in the garbage. I work in a drug testing lab, and I can't remember the last time I looked at one. I know where they are in my lab and that's about it. If we treat them like that at a lab, odds are the workers at a Buffalo Wild Wings have no knowledge of them at all.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:54 AM
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Neither the SDS sheet nor the bottle of Super 8 (at least what I can see of it on their website) warns about the hazards of mixing the product with ammonia, acid, or other chemicls that can liberate the chlorine as clearly as the warnings I've seen on home products.

https://batmaid.ch/blog/en/home-clea...d-at-all-costs

https://www.hazwastehelp.org/HHW/haz...duct-list.aspx

And it seems to me that any cleaner used in a restaurant is virtually guaranteed to come in contact with acids, unless precautions are taken.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:18 PM
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I worked in a grocery store deli about 30 years ago in high school and the same thing happened. I didn't even actively mix any agents. I used some bleach water try and clean up some beet juice stains on the floor. There was probably some residual ammonia rinse from a previous day in the P-trap of the floor drain that reacted with the bleach. We had to evacuate the store when fumes came up from the drain. I was closest, and my throat was burned raw enough to lose my voice for a few days afterward.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:53 PM
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An accidental mix of cleaners — acid and bleach — generated toxic fumes that killed the manager of a Buffalo Wild Wings in Massachusetts, authorities said Friday. Thirteen others were taken to the hospital, according to the Fire Department in Burlington, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb.

The accident occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. Thursday when a worker began cleaning the kitchen floor just before the dinner rush, Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson told NBC News on Friday.

But that employee did not know that an acid-based cleaner, Scale Kleen, had been spilled on the floor earlier, Patterson said. So when the worker used chlorine- and bleached-based Super 8 on the floor, the mixture turned green and started to bubble, Patterson added.

After that worker fled the kitchen with burning eyes and breathing issues, the manager grabbed a squeegee and tried to push the bubbling green concoction out of the restaurant and into an outdoor drain before he was unable to continue, according to the chief. "He was quickly overcome ... and the squeegeeing led him to a severe medical condition," Patterson said.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...nager-n1078866
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobot View Post
I didn't do well in high school chemistry, but I think that mixture equals hydrochloric acid. Is that the case? What a shame.
Well, the actual problem is that it releases chlorine gas.

Which turns into hydrochloric acid upon contact with water. Such as the water in the mucus that lines your nose, throat, and lungs. And the saliva in your mouth.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:53 PM
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From what I've read, bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and ammonia actually releases chloramine gases, not straight chlorine. Still poisonous though, although not as as bad as chlorine.

But bleach and acid combines to form straight chlorine gas, which IS very toxic. Enough so that it was the first chemical warfare agent.

Last edited by bump; 11-08-2019 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:29 AM
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Was the worker killed from inhaling the fumes? Or was it chemical burns *shudder* to their skin?

Poor kid, either way. I pity their family.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
Was the worker killed from inhaling the fumes?
Inhaling the fumes.

Quote:
Poor kid...
He was 32 years old.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by installLSC View Post
The sad reality is that SDS sheets are either ignored or tossed in the garbage. I work in a drug testing lab, and I can't remember the last time I looked at one. I know where they are in my lab and that's about it. If we treat them like that at a lab, odds are the workers at a Buffalo Wild Wings have no knowledge of them at all.

Well, unless your job involves those SDSs - I'm a lab supervisor at an academic institution, and one of my projects is taking information from the SDSs and incorporating it into signage at storage locations so students and professors (who generally don't have the time and inclination to look at SDSs) don't have to read the SDS to get an idea of the relevant hazards.

I do worry that no one reads signs, but I feel like a lot of other institutions don't do a good job of labeling hazards.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
Was the worker killed from inhaling the fumes? Or was it chemical burns *shudder* to their skin?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
Inhaling the fumes.
Inhaling those sorts of fumes basically causes a chemical burn to the inside of your lungs.

Apparently, the deceased was a manager attempting to clear the hazard from the restaurant. He sent everyone else away in the evacuation, then attempted clean up on his own. Good intentions, bad result.

Really, under such circumstances leave the mess for a professional hazmat team.
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:07 PM
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I'm wondering what needs to change so there's not a recurrence of this. Should Scale Kleen and Super 8 not be used in the same location? Or is this just an rare accident (the Scale Kleen was spilled accidentally, so perhaps), and no processes need to change?
  #16  
Old 11-09-2019, 06:59 PM
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I remember the TV show Emergency!, in which someone mixed cleaning products and was knocked unconscious by the fumes.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I'm wondering what needs to change so there's not a recurrence of this. Should Scale Kleen and Super 8 not be used in the same location?
Yes this. You do not keep incompatible cleaners on site. You may try to keep your staff informed, you may try to keep them fully trained, but that is an endless task that you will fail at.

And you cannot even rely upon your most trained and senior staff from making a mistake. Tired, distracted, in a hurry, etc. You prepare for the stupidest, lower, denominator. Try to make the mistakes less likely to happen.

Tight purchasing control. Safety inspections. Inventory control.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
Yes this. You do not keep incompatible cleaners on site.
I don't think most people realize this, but MOST households have "incompatible cleaners" on hand, often sharing space under the same sink or in the same utility closet.

As an example: don't mix household chlorine bleach with ammonia-based cleaners. It can kill you. It has killed people.

The wonder is this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:47 PM
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I think most people have heard not to mix ammonia and chlorine-based cleaners but may not have heard of the danger of mixing acidic and chlorine-based cleaners. (Not to mention that I don't think there are many acidic household cleaners.) Here and here are the webpages for these two products. If you actually read the SDS for Scale Kleen, it warns against using it with chlorine-based products, but, as said above, who reads that stuff?

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 11-09-2019 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 11-10-2019, 04:38 AM
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Personally, I just don't mix cleaners, period.

Well, OK, one exception - I do make my own spray cleaners now. But I researched doing so before I did it, and I'm still careful about what goes into them and don't mix the results with other cleaners.
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