2 Hanford tank workers taken to Kadlec

Tri-City HeraldMarch 25, 2014 

— Two Hanford tank farm workers were taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center after developing symptoms linked to chemical vapors about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

They were released later in the day without medication and were expected to be cleared by Hanford’s medical provider, HPMC Occupational Medical Services, to return to work, said John Britton, spokesman for contractor Washington River Protection Solutions.

In addition, several other Hanford workers last week and Tuesday reported smelling chemicals in the tank farms and went to HPMC. All were released to return to work.

The workers taken to Kadlec had been cutting a plastic wrap off of a block covering contaminated equipment when they developed symptoms reported as coughing, throat irritation and a swollen tongue, Britton said.

The S Tank Farm, where the two were working, and the SX Tank Farm, which is upwind, were evacuated as a precaution.

One worker there Tuesday morning reported smelling chemicals and went to HPMC.

Hanford’s underground waste tanks vent to the atmosphere and weather conditions can affect the venting. Typically workers smell ammonia, although there are other chemicals in the tank.

Tuesday afternoon seven people reported smelling chemicals at the AY and AZ tank farms and went to HPMC. Two workers in the same area also smelled chemicals last week, Britton said.

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