PORT ALLEN - Workplace hazard investigators are looking into if two injured plant workers may have breathed in the dangerous gas, argon, instead of oxygen, perhaps showing that safety equipment was improperly used Wednesday.
The unidentified workers were rushed to area hospitals via ambulance helicopters around 9 a.m. Authorities said they were being treated for gas exposure at the Placid refining facility along the Mississippi River but there was no gas leak. Later, the company said the contract employees were doing work that required fresh air supplies and investigators are looking at how the supplies were used.
The workers were doing tasks in the vicinity of the refinery's storage tanks but there was no fire, explosion or release of any substances from the tanks or nearby facilities, Placid said in a statement.
LA-1 was shutdown at the refinery's access point for part of the day.
Placid said state and federal agencies as well as OSHA are also investigating the incident.
Placid Refinery is on LA-1 north of the New Bridge just outside the city limits of Port Allen. Placid, according to the company's website, is an independent,privately held petroleum refining company. The Port Allen facility is the company's only manufacturing facility and it produces transportation fuels.
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