State recommends measures
to avoid fishing fleet accidents
from ammonia or Freon gas leaks
July 03, 2004
Juneau, Alaska - State officials are cautioning fishing fleet
crews to observe safety procedures to prevent injuries from leaks
of Freon or ammonia gas from onboard refrigeration systems.
In recent weeks, refrigeration
system leaks of ammonia or Freon have caused workplace accidents
and the death of a crewmember aboard a fishing vessel. The safety
measures were recommended by the Alaska Department of Labor and
Workforce Development and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Labor Commissioner Greg O'Claray
cautioned, "Mariners know that if ammonia leaks from a refrigeration
system it is toxic and potentially explosive.
"But Freon leaks can also
be dangerous. Freon is heavier than air as well as odorless and
colorless. If it leaks, it can displace the air in a fish-hold,
bilge or engine compartment and suffocate a crewmember working
Fishing vessel owners, skippers
and crews are encouraged to observe safety procedures to prevent
Freon and ammonia accidents, including these recommendations:
- Install Freon or ammonia gas
detectors in all areas of a vessel where refrigeration lines
- Have Self-Contained Breathing
Units (SCBA) on board the vessel.
- Ensure that a crewmember has
a SCBA close by if working alone in an area where refrigeration
lines are run.
- Train all crewmembers how
to respond to Freon and ammonia leaks.
- Train all crewmembers to work
safely around ammonia or Freon refrigeration systems.
- Salt water is highly corrosive
so check refrigeration lines frequently to ensure good working
order. If parts need to be replaced make sure they are.
Note: Freon is a registered
trademark for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) manufactured and trademarked
Coast Guard investigates deadly Freon
June 29, 2004
Source of News Release:
Alaska Department of Fish &
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