CSB Releases New Chemical Incident Data and Calls for Increased Attention to Process Safety Management During Winter Period
Washington D.C. December 28, 2022 – Today, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) released data on chemical incidents reported under the CSB’s “Accidental Release Reporting Rule” during the first quarter of fiscal year 2023 (October-December 2022). The data shows a significant uptick in reportable events during the quarter, as well as an extremely high number of serious events this past weekend which coincides with cold temperatures across the U.S.
From October 1, 2022, through December 26, 2022, 36 events were reported to the CSB, 8 of which occurred this past holiday weekend. This is more than double the number of events for the first three months of the previous two fiscal years – October-December of 2021 (16 events) and 2020 (14 events). Reportable events involve an accidental chemical release resulting in a fatality, serious injury, and/or substantial property damage.
CSB Chairperson Steve Owens said, “With record low temperatures across much of the country this past weekend, the CSB saw an unprecedented uptick in reportable events. This may be partly due to the unique safety challenges posed by cold weather, but regardless, companies need to heighten their focus on safe operations and recognize that taking important precautionary actions, like winterization, can help prevent major chemical accidents.”
Chemical facilities need to be prepared for safety challenges posed by cold weather. Water freezing and expanding can crack or break pipes, damage equipment or cause instrumentation to fail.
More subtle hazards may also exist, such as the formation of a hydrate, where water chemically combines with a compound, which can also expand and block process piping. Facilities’ process safety management programs, including hazard reviews, management of change (MOC) evaluations, pre-startup safety reviews, and operating procedures, should reflect a year-round focus on how low temperatures may affect piping and other equipment and instrumentation.
— Read on www.csb.gov/csb-releases-new-chemical-incident-data-and-calls-for-increased-attention-to-process-safety-management-during-winter-period-/