|What is that plume showing, anyway?|
Credit: Wall Street Journal
The deaths of Trent Vigus and at least nine other oil-field workers over the past five years had haunting similarities. Each worker was doing a job that involved climbing on top of a catwalk strung between rows of storage tanks and opening a hatch.
There were no known witnesses to any of the men’s deaths. Their bodies were all found lying on top of or near the tanks. Medical examiners generally attributed the workers’ deaths primarily or entirely to natural causes, often heart failure.
But in the past few months, there has been a shift. Though still unsure of the exact cause of the deaths, government agencies and some industry-safety executives are now acknowledging a pattern and are focusing on the possible role played in the deaths by hydrocarbon chemicals, which can lead to quick asphyxiation or heart failure when inhaled in large quantities.
In the meantime, federal agencies and industry-safety groups are planning to send out a joint alert to the oil industry as early as this week, warning of the potential for imminent danger from inhaling hydrocarbons, according to several people involved in the effort. Much of the industry remains ignorant of the possible risks, they say...I would think this is about a lack of oxygen, but hey, I could be wrong. Any ideas?
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