Four Air Liquide employees injured in explosion
Press release from High Springs Fire Department
HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. – At 4:01 a.m. on the morning of May 4, 2023, the High Springs Fire Department was dispatched to Air Liquide, 17526 High Springs Main Street, for a reported explosion. Within minutes, firefighters arrived on scene, advising of an active fire with multiple people injured.
Four Air Liquide employees were injured as a result of the explosion, one of whom was air-lifted by ShandsCair medical helicopter. The other three were transported by ground to area hospitals for evaluation and treatment and have been released.
Gainesville Fire Rescue’s Regional Hazardous Materials (HazMat) team responded to the scene to evaluate the area of the explosion. After a thorough reconnaissance by the HazMat team, it was determined the incident was contained and infrastructure in the affected building was secured. Alachua County Fire Rescue’s drone team was also requested to aid in the mitigation and investigation efforts.
No injuries to first responders were reported. High Springs Main Street was closed between NW 182nd Avenue and NW 174th Avenue for approximately nine hours. The cause of the explosion is under investigation by the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office.
My heart goes out to the victims and their families. May you all have a full recovery.
Air Liquid Website Says: “Safety is a core value at Air Liquide and we take pride in our high safety standards. Our safety performance, which has improved steadily for more than 20 years, attests to the active involvement of employees in Air Liquide’s strong safety culture.” – https://usa.airliquide.com/about-us
Weird, since I have a friend who worked there and constantly complained about the turnover rate for employees, ever shifting schedule, and lack of concern for safety protocols.
With all due respect, turnover and complaints about work schedules in manufacturing where the schedule involves running 24/7 and/or rotating shift are always high. While there is probably a bit of truth to both issues (because no system is absolutely perfect), there is really no surprise there. I have friends I worked with in a similar manufacturing environment who currently work at ALAM in High Springs and I’ve never heard anything (either directly or through the grapevine) about safety as an issue. Also, behavior based safety and employee ownership of the safety process is the norm nowadays in manufacturing, allowing employees to basically decline to do something for which there may be significant legitimate safety concerns until the concerns are addressed. These guys just took a significant hit, and those of us who understand that hope the best for the employees, our friends, and the company. How about waiting until the Chemical Safety Board and other agencies involved conduct and complete their respective investigations so public opinion can be based on fact and not conjecture?
I worked for this company for 7 years and worked at this facility for several months. They’d take inexperienced employees and put them on a 12 hour night shift with no supervision and employees with with similar experience. The people of high springs would be horrified if they knew what went on there and what they had there on site. The company is production fire safety last. Money rules all their decisions.