Victim Rescued in Waukegan Last Night Dies in Burn Unit; Search For Two Missing Employees Resumes at Site of Waukegan Chemical Plant Explosion

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Byron Biehn, a shift supervisor, and Daniel Nicklas, a lab technician, were still missing after the explosion at AB Specialty Silicones Friday night.

Workers at AB Specialty Silicones said Saturday that fellow employee Allen Stevens passed away Saturday afternoon May 4, 2019 after he was caught in the explosion Friday night about 9:30 p.m. Allen Stevens was one of four people who were transported to hospitals Friday night. Stevens survived over 12 hours in a hospital burn unit.

Two people were transported to Level I Trauma Center Advocate Condell Medical Center and two people were transported to Vista East medical Center. Three employees are still hospitalized. Initially there conditions have not been released. Waukegan Fire Marshal Steve Lenzi said 9 people were in the building at the time of the explosion or immediately before the explosion.

Workers identified two male employees that are missing — Byron Biehn and Daniel Nicklas. Workers said that second shift supervisor Byron Biehn saved lives by alerting everyone inside the AB Specialty Silicones building at 3790 Sunset Avenue in Waukegan to evacuate after Biehn realized something wasn’t right.

Emergency crews resumed their search for two missing employees Saturday afternoon after suspending the recovery because of risks of exposure to hazardous material and the risk of building collapse because of compromised structural integrity of the building.

“We are shocked and heartbroken by the tragedy that occurred in our plant last night. We have spent the day trying our best to support all of the members of our AB family as we attempt to process this terrible loss together.

We want to express our extreme gratitude to all of the first responders who arrived at the scene. We continue to work closely with the Waukegan Fire Department and the Illinois Fire Marshal as they secure the scene and complete their investigation.”

— Mac Penman, GM at AB Specialty Silicones (in a statement)

Dan Niklas has only worked at AB Specialty Silicones since September 2018.

AB Specialty Silicones manufactures a multitude of products for the Paint & Coatings industry; the Personal Care & Cosmetics; and the Food, Beverage & Nutrition industry. The company’s website was down last night — perhaps because the web server was onsite. Research of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for chemicals used and products produced at the business did not initially produce results on the Internet. The chemicals at a specific company are often available on their official website or from a third party source.

The Hazard Communication Standard for SDS — Formerly MSDS
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)), revised in 2012, requires that the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly MSDSs or Material Safety Data Sheets) for each hazardous chemical to downstream users to communicate information on these hazards. The information contained in the SDS is largely the same as the MSDS, except now the SDSs are required to be presented in a consistent user-friendly, 16-section format. This brief provides guidance to help workers who handle hazardous chemicals to become familiar with the format and understand the contents of the SDSs.


A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS/SDS) is required under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. The MSDS/SDS is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical. The MSDS describes the physical and chemical properties of the product.

An MSDS/SDS lists …

The name of the chemical (same as the label name)

the chemical and common names of the substance

a listing of the ingredients or compounds

a statement of the compounds that are known carcinogens or that present other known health hazards

any specific hazards, such as chemical reactivity, explosion hazard, Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) or the lowest concentration that could produce a flash, fire or explosion.

An MSDS/SDS Data Sheet also contains information such as odor characteristics, firefighting instructions, procedures for spills and leaks, evacuation radius, personal protection equipment, toxicity, storage guidelines, and much more.

According to an OSHA Brief on “Hazard Communication Standard: Safety Data Sheets,” the 16 sections of the new SDS are as follows …

Hazard(s) Identification
Composition/Information on Ingredients
First-Aid Measures
Fire-Fighting Measures
Accidental Release Measures
Handling and Storage
Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
Physical and Chemical Properties
Stability and Reactivity
Toxicological Information
Ecological Information (non-mandatory)
Disposal Considerations (non-mandatory)
Transport Information (non-mandatory)
Regulatory Information (non-mandatory)
Other Information


CARDINAL NEWS | 1 Found Dead, 2 Missing After AB Specialty Silicones Explosion at 3790 Sunset Avenue, Waukegan

CARDINAL NEWS | Official Updates for Waukegan Explosion; WYZE Security Video Catches Explosion As It Happened

CARDINAL NEWS | Explosion and Fire at Commercial Building on Sunset Ave Near Northwestern Ave, Waukegan

See also …
OSHA Brief | Hazard Communication Standard: Safety Data Sheets



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