An employee of the contractor that operates the Osoyoos Landfill was taken to hospital after inadvertently crushing a container of chlorine that had been improperly disposed.
On July 28 at 1020am, Osoyoos RCMP responded to a medical emergency at the Osoyoos Landfill. A contractor’s employee compacting freshly dumped waste drove over a container of solid chlorine pucks that is believed to have been disposed of contrary to landfill regulations and the disposal of hazardous wastes.
The employee immediately suffered a medical emergency after inhaling some of the discharge from the pucks. He was able to remove himself from the area and call for help.
BC Ministry of Environment attended to assess the measures taken to isolate the area while waiting for the response contractor to arrive, while Work Safe BC inspected the site to determine how the spill occurred and to ensure compliance with occupational health and safety requirements.
Fortunately the affected employee as well as the rest of the employees were experienced in how to handle unexpected spills and their quick actions saved the affected employee from further injury.
The Town contacted an environmental agency who attended the Landfill and packaged the damaged pail and chlorine pucks in a UN rated poly drum and took them for proper disposal. The loader that contacted the chemical was cleaned by the agency and they inspected the area to determine if there were any more distributed in the area.
It is clear this spill was caused by someone improperly disposing of a pail of solid chlorine pucks into the Town’s waste system, said Sgt Jason Bayda, Osoyoos RCMP Commander. This should be a reminder to all that disposing of hazardous materials into a waste container can cause serious injury or death to those working with the garbage down the line. Hazardous materials need to be disposed through the proper disposal/recycling process.