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Improving the Nation’s Chemical Security Program Statistics as of May 1, 2015
The tragic story of how a worker, Eddie Adams, died from an arch flash, and how it impacted his co-workers and his family.
Recently, a compressed gas cylinder exploded in a state university campus laboratory. The explosion was attributed to dangerous alterations that had been made to the cylinder. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2006, an explosion occurred in a state university chemistry building laboratory, causing substantial building damage. The explosion resulted from a rupture in a liquid nitrogen (Dewar) cylinder. The cylinder was originally constructed and tested in December 1980. The examination revealed that the cylinder’s pressure release valve and rupture disc had been replaced by two brass plugs. Here is the report:
Four workers were killed by a lethal dose of methyl mercaptan gas in November 2014. OSHA has cited the company for 11 safety violations and identified scores of safety upgrades the company must undertake to prevent future accidents at its manufacturing building. The company employs 313 workers who manufacture crop protection materials and chemicals there. The fatal incident occurred as one worker was overwhelmed when methyl mercaptan gas was unexpectedly released when she opened a drain on a methyl mercaptan vent line. Two co-workers who came to her aid were also overcome. None of the three wore protective respirators. A fourth co-worker — the brother of one of the fallen men — attempted a rescue, but was unsuccessful. All four people died in the building. The company was cited for one repeat, nine serious and one other than serious OSHA violations. The repeat violation was assessed for not training employees on using the building's ventilation system and other safety procedures, such as how to respond if the fans stopped working. In July 2010, the company was cited for a similar violation in a fatality involving Phosgene gas. Here is a breakdown of the citations...
An explosion and fire in October 2011 injured 52 workers and this week a provincial court judge sentenced the business to a $200,000 fine and an $80,000 “victims of crime” surcharge. On 1/22/15, the company pleaded guilty to a charge under the Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety Act that the refinery failed to ensure that all work was sufficiently and competently supervised. The prosecutor told court that on Oct. 6, 2011, a corroded six-inch diameter reactor effluent line that carried partially refined diesel fuel, hydrogen gas, water, nitrogen, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide gas ruptured. The rupture ignited the various gases inside and triggered four other explosions and a fireball. The rupture occurred at normal operating pressure. The pipe was installed by private contractors in 1960 or 1961, but it was the wrong pipe and thickness. (SAFTENG Members can CLICK HERE to see the Expert Report on the pipe failure).The sentence was a joint submission of the Crown and defence lawyer Ron Gates. The maximum fine under the act was $300,000.
An ammonia refrigerated food processing facility will pay a civil penalty of $3,000,990 for violations of the Clean Air Act and EPCRA, and $8,865 for violations of CERCLA resulting from a 32,000 pound release of ammonia. This after OSHA cited the facility for the same release in 2011 for $52,500 for 16 PSM violations. ALL, but the OCA citations, from this EPA inspection are IDENTICAL requirements from OSHA’s PSM, yet the results are HUGELY different! Here are the details; I can’t say I agree with all of them, but this gives us some idea as to why EPA issued their recent enforcement alert to the ammonia refrigeration industry.
This is an excellent photo that shows what happens when a FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS ATMOPSHERIC STORAGE tank does not have proper or adequate emergency venting. As we can see in this photo (Source: AP) the tank is still in tank, but with a large hole (e.g. new vent!). This tank was estimated to have reached the height of 60' and landed approximately 75 yards from its foundation. Ignition was a lighting strike.
Some interesting, yet very DATED data, regarding LOTO accidents. This is from OSHA's preamble when they were trying to justify the need for the Control of Hazardous Energy Standard. TABLE III - ACTIVITY OF TIME OF ACCIDENT and TABLE IV - CIRCUMSTANCES OF INJURIES are VERY TELLING and in my professional opinion, still reflect the LOTO accidents we see today. So even though OSHA’s LOTO Standard came into effect in 1989, we are still seeing way too many injuries related to LOTO.