The Chlorine Gas Incident at International House of Pancakes

The chlorine gas emission incidence occurred from a dishwasher in an IHOP following a combination of two washing products, which are believed to have initiated the cloud of smoke. During this incident, employees in an IHOP experienced a vast gas cloud that contaminated the air with highly choking smoke. The occurrence could have necessitated employees’ compensation from the restaurant management following reported injuries. From the incidence, more than nine IHOP workers were hospitalized and put under intensive care to prevent and cure injuries that resulted from chlorine inhalation.

Further investigations indicated that the harmful gas production started from the combination of Delimer product that is claimed to have phosphoric acid and choline bleach. Chlorine components typically have a strong odor that can affect one’s respiratory systems and eyes, especially when an individual comes into direct contact with its smoke. Reports from the poison control center close to IHOP showed that people usually mix chlorine bleach and other washing products to enhance their effectiveness (Kateman, 2022). In this regard, the product combination is a common practice at all IHOP restaurants. Following this report, it is clear that workers are more likely to have been exposed to a small amount of gas production in their daily operations without their awareness.

The occurrence from the IHOP building was received by speedy evacuation of workers from the building, while those that portrayed any injury signs were subjected to prompt treatment. Most patients from the incidence were under oxygen treatment following advanced effects on their respiratory systems, although none were reported to have life-threatening consequences. However, some workers, especially those that failed to receive the proper treatment, were spotted spitting and continuously coughing before they were subjected to the appropriate treatment plan. In addition, it is essential to note that a big group of those dining at the building violently complained about the incident and blamed restaurant management for the contamination of their juice. From this review, it is clear that the restaurant should be held accountable for storing products that have the potential of producing harmful gas after their combination.

All restaurant bottles need to be labeled appropriately with clear and readable numbers or words indicating their purpose. This will aid in proper identification to avoid incidences where an item is used for the wrong purpose. Lack of proper labeling of chemical bottles can make workers to use wrong and harmful blend of products. On the other hand, employees need to be correctly oriented on using various products alongside training on quantity combination. To enhance the safety of employees, managers need to ensure that workers are adequately equipped with desirable protective gear such as inhaling standard masks and chemical handling gloves. This will help employees from daily slow exposure to chemicals as they perform their duties (Carter et al., 2020). For the safety of employees, managers are also required to spearhead the construction of well-designed and standard gas chambers to prevent widespread fume. The air chambers are required to have filters necessary for purifying emitted smoke from any chemical component, hence reducing environmental pollution and its effect on the surrounding clients. Moreover, the occurrence has also prompted managers to embrace other alternative washing products, especially those with reduced adverse effects on the users.

To prevent such occurrence, restaurants managers could have taken the following steps:

  1. Teach employees about keeping chemical products in adequately designated places to avoid cross-contamination. Storage areas should have been appropriately designed and kept under all-time lock to prevent the incident of accidental mixing of harmful chemical products.
  2. The restaurant management could also have issued strict instructions to its workers against ammonia and chlorine combination. The two products can produce harmful gas, hence the need to enlighten workers on their effects (Carter et al., 2020). The communication could have been done through demonstration of their impact, restaurant memos, and the use of warning pictures placed at various strategic places.
  3. The management could also have invested in purchasing chemical dispensers and educating workers on how their proper utilization helps keep them safe and their clients. Using a dispenser will help ensure appropriate chemical combination and desirable following of manufactures instruction when mixing various products.

To ensure a safer kitchen environment, managers can take the following measures:

  1. Employees must be enlightened on using appropriate products to clean vegetables and fruits of pesticides to avoid contaminating their goods. The kitchen also needs to have proper air conditioners to prevent the issue of suffocation in the event of chemical contamination.
  2. Managers must also ensure that desired chemical manuals are available in the kitchen to give instructions on the proper chemical combinations.

Despite increasing demands for service, the United Parcel Service (UPS) is properly executing its mandate of enhancing workers’ safety. The company has ensured a proper shift in job design to enable workers to report any injury-related issue through specific contacts without any fear of being blamed for hurts (Getahun Asfaw & Chang, 2019). Additionally, the company has desirable safety plans for jobs and hazards. Being a global leader in speedy delivery, reputation, and goodwill, the company can maintain and improve its strategy through the following measures:

  1. The company needs to give the right workload or reduce it to avoid the rates of work injuries as workers compete to complete enormous tasks with limited deadlines.
  2. Avail trucks that are in good condition by ensuring any van that fails to meet required safety standards is exempted from the use by workers to reduce cases of accidents.
  3. Supervisors need to be enlightened on the significance of workers’ safety. If a supervisor is angry while dealing with employees, the case must be reported to management.
  4. The company needs to ensure constant and continuous motivation of its employees by recognizing their attainment. This can be done through reward (carrot) for good performance and punishment (stick) for low attainment alongside other diverse methods as the management may deem it necessary.

The company stimulates its truck drivers through scheduled work attainment benefits and salary alongside other gains they deserve. It is important to note that drivers are the leading influencers on whether passengers arrive at their destinations safely. In addition, drivers are the major contributor to trade, even for perishable goods; ensuring goods are safely delivered to the required households. Therefore, they need to be motivated by enhancing their sense of purpose and meaning by making them feel their contribution is significant, increasing their motivation to work. Therefore, the company needs to consider drivers as critical players in the transport industry and ensure they earn a relatively higher income than other corporate workers. Moreover, allowing drivers to develop through learning helps them enhance their skills and creates a positive attitude as the company is concerned with their up-skilling.


Carter, C. A., Pistiner, M., Wang, J., & Sharma, H. P. (2020). Food allergy in restaurants work group report. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, 8(1), 70-74.

Getahun Asfaw, A., & Chang, C. C. (2019). The association between job insecurity and engagement of employees at work. Journal of workplace behavioral health, 34(2), 96-110.

Kateman, B. (2022). Meat Me Halfway: How Changing the Way We Eat Can Improve Our Lives and Save Our Planet. Rowman & Littlefield.

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