Nine employees of the IHOP restaurant in the Shops at Trace Fork along Corridor G in South Charleston were taken to the hospital last Friday morning after being exposed to a cloud of chemical materials. The toxic cloud resulted when an employee improperly mixed two chemicals together which are routinely used in cleaning at the restaurant – a degreaser and a chlorine based cleaner. The cloud of smoke – which has been described as "scary" and to have smelled like straight bleach – filled the restaurant causing it to be evacuated by employees and patrons.
The degreasing agent which the employee mixed with the chlorine bleach is a product called Delimer. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Delimar, it contains phosphoric acid and is not to be combined with any chlorinated detergents which could result in the production of toxic chlorine gas fumes. OSHA regulations require employers like IHOP to provide its employees with MSDS sheets for any chemicals used on the job and to train employees on how to properly handle these chemicals. Despite these federally mandated OSHA requirements, Kanawha County Emergency Services Director Dale Petry stated in a report by the Charleston Gazette that mixing Delimer with chlorine bleach appeared to be a standard practice at the South Charleston IHOP.
OSHA safety regulations are in place to ensure that employees are provided with a safe place to work and to protect the public's safety. Employers, however, too often violate these regulations which jeopardizes not only the health and safety of their employees but also the public at large. There were no serious injuries reported to date resulting from this exposure (although these individuals should closely monitor their health as symptoms may manifest later.) Unfortunately, however, not all employees are as lucky as these 9 IHOP employees. Exposure to toxic chemicals at the workplace or elsewhere may cause serious personal injuries or even death. If you have been injured as a result of exposure to toxic or hazardous chemicals at the workplace or elsewhere, it is important to contact a law firm with experience in representing these types of claims. Fitzsimmons Law Firm has successfully represented workers injured in the workplace for over 30 years. If you have a work injury as a result of chemical exposure, contact one of our Wheeling, West Virginia
workplace accident lawyers.