Last update: 10-Dec-2013 10:54 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Lab remains closed pending probe
The petroleum testing laboratory at the Caribbean Industrial Research Unit (Cariri) will remain closed indefinitely until an investigation is completed after a chemical explosion last Friday. In an e-mail response to the T&T Guardian on Monday, Irma Burkett, corporate communications officer of the institute which is located on the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine campus, said, however, that Cariri’s other services to its energy sector clients would not be interrupted.
“No testing and analyses will be possible in this lab...however, the main petroleum/energy lab (in adjacent building) was not affected by the mishap, and can therefore still provide other services to our clients in the energy sector,” Burkett said. During a standard analysis of crude oil samples in the petroleum laboratory last Friday, one of the samples ignited and caused an explosion around 11.15 am. It left two technicians injured with burns about their bodies.
The technicians were taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, for treatment. One of them (a woman) was released the same day, while the other was moved to another facility, but has since been discharged. “The female was taken home, but the Cariri management decided (as a precautionary measure) to have the male employee admitted to a private hospital for further observation..He has since been discharged,” Burkett said.
“They have both been granted leave to rest and recover fully.” She said there were meetings and inspections carried out by Cariri’s Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) team on Monday, while a team from Occupational Safety and Health Authority visited the facility yesterday. Investigations are ongoing and Burkett said the institute might review its emergency response procedures as a result of the first-time incident.
“The institute is always willing to improve upon procedures, and would consider reviewing its HSE protocol and emergency response plans, if necessary,” she said.
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