Ramazzini; Blog on work and health by Annet Lenderink

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Dangerous oxygen depletion risk in transportation of wood

There are several articles on the risks that can occur during the transportation of timber. My colleague Gert van der Laan published a article in Dutch on our website, from which I quote here:

Oxygen Deficit fatal in bulk transportation of timber

“In two years time occurred in Swedish ports five fatal cases and several incidents during the unloading of bulk carriers to blocks and wood chips / wood logs. In all cases, the victims descended into stairwells in the vessels directly connected to the bulk space stood. On 10 ships there were more than forty different measurements taken at different times. The average oxygen level was 10%, but in 17% of the measurements showed the oxygen level decreased to 0%! Although during the winter the oxygen reduction was less pronounced, even then there was an incident with fatalities for. there were on average 46 hours between loading and unloading and although there were different woods, the microbiological activity was highest in samples of fresh wood chips and bark. The conclusion is that transport of timber in confined spaces can cause severe hypoxia and CO2 formation can occur.”

Relevant articles:
Oxygen depletion and formation of toxic gases following sea tranportation of logs and wood chips
Svedberg U, Petrini C, Johanson G.
Ann. Occup. Hyg. 53; 799-787, 2009

Rate and Peak Concentrations of Off-Gas Emissions in Stored Wood Pellets—Sensitivities to Temperature, Relative Humidity, and Headspace Volume
Xingya Kuang, Tumuluru Jaya Shankar1, Xiaotao T. Bi1, C. Jim Lim1, Shahab Sokhansanj and Staffan Melin
Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2009 53(8):789-796; doi:10.1093/annhyg/mep049

Emission of Volatile Aldehydes and Ketones from Wood Pellets under Controlled Conditions
Mehrdad Arshadi, Paul Geladi, Rolf Gref and Pär Fjällström
Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2009 53(8):797-805; doi:10.1093/annhyg/mep058

Filed under: Accidents, Chemical agents, Occupational exposure, ,

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