One of the most dramatic accidents of the past five years has highlighted the hazards related to the waste treatment sector and work in a confined space.
On 22 September 2014, four operators died of sulphur dioxide poisoning in a waste treatment plant in Adria. One of their colleagues is also in a serious condition. This accident occurred when the five operators were pouring sulphuric acid into a tank already containing ammonia. The mixture of the two products apparently caused fumes, immediately killing four of the five men who were not wearing a protective mask.
The public prosecutor opened a manslaughter investigation to determine the causes of the tragedy. The initial evidence showed shortcomings on the levels of personnel training and the use of personal protective equipment. Moreover, the production cycle was apparently not followed correctly. The sulphuric acid and ammonia should never have been mixed.
The trade unions have demanded the opening of a national debate on occupational safety. The town of Adria, shocked by the accident, announced a day of mourning.
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