[ID] => 11073
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-05-28 11:34:15
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-28 10:34:15
[post_content] => Every month we hear stories of people being asphyxiated or poisoned by entering enclosed spaces. Some of them involve ships (which is a constant issue) or take place in refineries or petrochemical plants. But most take place in septic tanks, slurry pits or improvised toilets, often – though far from always – in the developing world.
One such story reached us this month and we thought it worth sharing. Two men suffocated and one is in critical condition in southern India after climbing into a disused well in an attempt to rescue a chipmunk pup. As is usually the case, one man became unconscious in the well and others climbed into try and help him, only to be overcome themselves. One died in the well and another on the way to the hospital.
It is not clear why they felt such a need to try and save the chipmunk – was it a pet? Dinner? Or just a Buddhist concern for another living creature? Whatever, the local police could not determine whether it was saved.
WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
Another man died in Malaysia in April aboard a fishing boat. According to local reports, two men passed out after inhaling poisonous gas when they opened an old container used to store fish aboard the vessel. One was declared dead at the scene and the other was taken to hospital in a critical condition. Presumable the fish were also dead, as they were the source of the fumes.
The local hazmat crew tested the gas in the container but could only ascertain that it was not ammonia. A discussion among experts on Don Johnston’s Hazmat Global Network (firstname.lastname@example.org – well worth joining) suggested it could have been triethylamine, trimethylamine or some other amine, or a combination thereof, or hydrogen sulphide, any of which could have caused the death and injury. Questions were asked as to why the hazmat team did not have the equipment on hand to identify the gas, which may point towards amines as the culprit, especially given the characteristic odour of hydrogen sulphide.
BALLOONS ON THE LINE
Commuters in the UK complain regularly about the quality of train services – and often with good reason, as the Back Page can testify. Some delays are self-inflicted by the rail operators but the companies usually try to pass the blame onto weather conditions – too hot, too cold, leaves on the lines, and so on.
But now they have another excuse. Network Rail, which controls the rail infrastructure, reports an increasing number of delays due to helium balloons – more than 600 incidents in the past year. Many cases involve balloons getting tangled in high-voltage overhead wires, causing delays while the electricity is switched off and the lines made safe.
"If you're on a railway station platform with a foil balloon filled with helium on a string and it comes in contact with the overhead wires carrying 25,000 volts, that could cause huge injury or death," said James Dean, chief operating officer for Network Rail's London North Western route.
"Ideally, we'd ask people not to bring balloons into our stations at all. Alternatively, carry them in bags so the risk of them floating upwards is minimised." Or, given the growing concern over the finite supply of helium, maybe don’t use them at all.
[post_title] => NOS: Down in the hole
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => nos-down-in-the-hole
[post_modified] => 2019-05-27 11:43:23
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-27 10:43:23
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=11073
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[post_type] => post
[comment_count] => 0
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