Hospitals worldwide got a wake-up call about dealing with potentially explosive and flammable substances January 29 when a tanker truck that was unloading gas at a Mexico City children’s hospital exploded, reducing the facility to rubble and killing at least three people and wounded dozens.
The truck had been filling kitchen gas tanks at the hospital, reports said, and the explosion occurred as about 110 people in the Hospital Materno Infantil Cuajimalpa were being evacuated after a leak was discovered.
Shortly after the explosion, U.S. safety agencies, including the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) started sending out alerts, telling hospitals stateside that they should review their safety protocols, procedures for storing and transporting flammable and explosive substances, and making sure their employees were up to date on the latest training.
“You can never be too careful with the delivery of flammable gases,” says Marge McFarlane, PhD, CHSP, CHFM, HEM, MEP, CHEP, principal of Superior Performance, LLC, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. “It’s a conscious acceptance of familiar risk, as people forget that it’s bad stuff. They probably receive deliveries 500 times without incident.”
We’d like to know – with the events that unfolded in Mexico City, will you be changing your protocols or doing anything to change the way hazardous substances are handled?
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