IR #00-05
Monday April 10, 2000

Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050

Limit use of ethylene gas to experienced workers only, warns Cal/OSHA

SAN FRANCISCO --The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has issued an alert informing employers on steps to prevent injury or death from the use of ethylene gas in the produce-ripening industry. Ethylene gas is used to ripen fruit such as apples, bananas and berries.

In a recent accident at Pan American Banana Company in Los Angeles, one employee was fatally injured and another critically injured by an explosion that occurred inside a tightly enclosed room where ethylene gas was being used to ripen fruit. Five other employees were injured in the blast.

"We know that loss of life can be prevented if employers take appropriate safety precautions," said Division Chief John Howard.

The following precautions should be followed:

A copy of the alert is available on the DIR Web site at\gasalert.html

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