Worker Enters Room during Low Oxygen Alarm Activation

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM (LANL)

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Respiratory Protection, Operations, Laboratory

A worker responding to a low oxygen alarm found a pressure relief valve venting nitrogen into a room. He briefly entered the room, turned off the supply valve and then exited. The technical problem had been solved, however, the worker did not call Emergency Management and Response so personnel could ensure the safety of the area before entering. The primary purpose of the low oxygen alarm is to indicate that the atmosphere is likely oxygen deficient and that it may be unsafe for personnel to be in the area. Initial calculations after the incident indicate that the atmosphere did not pose the risk of a fatality; however, the employee did not know the exact conditions at the time he entered the room. When responding to alarms, it is important to pause and analyze the situation first. Mitigating the situation or condition in the heat of the moment without thoughtful consideration of hazards and work requirements can place workers at potential risk.

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