Shintech plant manager: Workers likely suffocated

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Posted: May 25, 2011 2:34 PM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: plaquemine, louisiana, investigation, death, workers, shintech, iberville parish, plant, wbrz, louisiana

PLAQUEMINE, La. - Three investigations have been launched to determine what caused the deaths of two workers inside an industrial container at Shintech's Iberville Parish plant.

Shintech, Louisiana State Police and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration are all investigating the deaths, which happened Sunday.

Sheriff's Maj. Johnny Blanchard says investigators believe Tory Sanchez, a contract worker employed by Performance Contractors Inc., was overcome by fumes while descending a ladder into the container to retrieve tools. Blanchard says Shintech employee Tommy Rivet also went into the container, possibly to assist Sanchez, and also was overcome.

Plant manager David Wise told The Advocate the men likely suffocated in the oxygen-deficient container that was filled with nitrogen as part of the process to produce vinyl chloride.

Authorities are awaiting autopsy results.

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