Ammonia gas leak sends dozens of Pritipaul Singh Investment’s workers to hospital

An ammonia gas leak at Pritipaul Singh Investment Inc’s McDoom, East Bank Demerara offices yesterday afternoon resulted in at least two dozen employees, including two pregnant women, being rushed to the Woodlands Hospital for medical attention.

Vishnu Panday, Assistant Managing Director of the company, when contacted last evening, confirmed that several employees of the company’s McDoom location were taken to the Woodlands Hospital for medical attention as a precautionary measure after the pipe through which the ammonia gas flows, burst.

He added that having taken into consideration the welfare of its employees, management decided to close operations for the remainder of the day while they work to contain the gas that had escaped.

Notwithstanding, Panday offered assurance that no one had been hospitalised as a result and work should resume as per normal today.

Reports are that as employees started inhaling the gas, some lost consciousness, while others complained of feeling nauseous. As such, they were rushed to the Woodlands Hospital for medical attention.

Stabroek News visited the hospital yesterday afternoon where some of those affected, who had already received medical attention, were seen lingering in the compound.

One employee who spoke with this newspaper, related that he was in the glazing area when he was confronted by a foul stench.

“From the smell, I decide to go outside and that’s when I see everybody else outside. After a time, I start feel really dizzy and I sit down and then ask them to take me to the hospital,” the man said.

Another employee explained that he was in the office located at the front of the compound when the pipe burst.

“When the pipe burst I didn’t know, but my eyes start burning and I started feeling really upset; everybody stated rushing out and then an ambulance came and bought persons to the hospital,” he shared.

A female employee, who said she fainted during the ordeal, told this newspaper that the ammonia gas had been escaping from one of the rooms. However, she claimed that there was some difficulty in personnel being able to identify the actual location, which resulted in the gas being able to circulate and affect the employees.

Stabroek News understands that this is the second time within the space of a month that the McDoom location has experienced such an incident.

This was also confirmed by Panday who explained that first incident was “minor” and had not caused any disruptions as had been the case yesterday.

This incident will have to be reported to the Occupational Health and Safety Department of the Ministry of Social Protection.

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