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“CSB Releases New Safety Video Detailing Investigation into 2013 Fatal Fire and Explosion at the Williams Olefins Plant in Geismar, LA”

January 25, 2017, Washington, DC –

Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a safety video of its investigation of the June 13, 2013 explosion and fire at the Williams Olefins Plant in Geismar, Louisiana, which killed two workers and injured an additional 167.  The deadly explosion and fire occurred when a heat exchanger containing flammable liquid propane violently ruptured.

The CSB’s newly released 12-minute safety video entitled, “Blocked In,” includes a 3D animation of the explosion and fire as well as interviews with CSB investigator Lauren Grim and Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland. The video is based on the CSB’s case study on the Williams incident and can be viewed on the CSB’s website and YouTube.

Chairperson Sutherland said, “Our investigation on the explosion at Williams describes an ineffective process safety management program at the plant at the time of the incident. We urge other companies to incorporate our recommendations at their facilities and to assess the state of their cultures to promote safety at all organizational levels to prevent a similar accident. ”

The CSB’s investigation found many process safety management program deficiencies at Williams, which set the stage for the incident. In particular, the CSB found that the heat exchanger that failed was completely isolated from its pressure relief valve.

In the video, Investigator Lauren Grim said, “When evaluating overpressure protection requirements for heat exchangers, engineers must think about how to manage potential scenarios, including unintentional hazards. In this case, simply having a pressure relief valve available could have prevented the explosion.”

The CSB investigation concluded that in the twelve years leading to the incident, a series of process safety management program deficiencies caused the heat exchanger to be unprotected from overpressure.  As revealed in the investigation, during that time Management of Change Reviews, Pre-Startup Safety Reviews, and Process Hazard Analyses all failed to effectively identify and control the hazard.

In addition, the CSB found that Williams failed to develop a written procedure for activities performed on the day of the incident, nor did the company have a routine maintenance schedule to prevent the operational heat exchanger from needing to be shut down for cleaning.

Finally, the video describes CSB’s recommendations made to the Williams Geismar plant which  encourages similar companies to review and incorporate into their own facilities. These include:

– Conduct safety culture assessments that involve workforce participation, and communicate the results in reports that recommend specific actions to address safety culture weaknesses

– Develop a robust safety indicators tracking program that uses the data identified to drive continual safety improvement

– And perform comprehensive process safety program assessments to thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness of the facility’s process safety programs.

“Managers must implement and then monitor safety programs and encourage a strong culture of safety to protect workers and the environment,” Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said,

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. CSB investigations examine all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but makes safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, http://www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen at public@csb.gov or by phone at 202.446.8095.

 

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“Confined Spaces – “What To Do Before You Enter” #ConfinedSpace #StayAlive

80% of fatalities happened in locations that had been previously entered by the same person who later died.

Each year, an average of 92 fatalities occurs from confined spaces locations due to asphyxiation, acute or chronic poisoning, or impairment.

But, what is a “confined space?”

A confined space is a space that:

  1. Is large enough and so arranged that an employee can bodily enter it;
  2. Has limited or restricted means for entry and exit;
  3. Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

Examples of confined spaces include:

  • Sewers
  • Storm drains
  • Water mains
  • Pits
  • And many more

Permit-required confined spaces include:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material with the potential to engulf someone who enters the space
  • Has an internal configuration that might cause an entrant to be trapped or asphyxiated
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazards

Here are some steps you can take to help ensure the safety of your workers.

1. Is This a Confined Space?

2. Is the Atmosphere Safe?

Testing must be done in several levels of the space because specific hazardous gases react differently to the rest of the atmosphere. Why? Hydrogen Sulfide is slightly heavier than air, while other dangerous gases such as methane may be lighter than air and rise to the top. Only by testing all levels of the tank you are about to enter can you be reasonably sure the atmosphere is acceptable for breathing.

3. How Do I Exit Safely?

Before you start thinking about entering, first make sure you can get back out. Meaning you have a rescue plan and are working with someone else who can provide for rescue.

If you don’t have a rescue plan, don’t enter.

4. How Do I Enter Safely?

Does the job or project require special equipment to get in and out of the space, such as a body harness?

5. Will The Atmosphere Stay Safe?

Once you’ve established that the atmosphere is safe to enter, you next have to know that it will stay that way. Which leads us to our next point.

6. Does the Space Need Ventilating?

If the air is found to be unsafe within the confined space because of existing fumes or gas, or if the work being done will contribute to a degradation of the breathable atmosphere, the space needs to be ventilated and you need to be using an air monitoring device.

7. Equipment Check

It’s important to check your equipment before beginning any sort of confined space entry work. Has your gas detector been bump-tested or recently calibrated? Have all lanyards and lifelines been checked for wear? Have harnesses been properly stored?

8. Lighting

Confined spaces are often cramped, dark and awkwardly shaped. A well-lit worksite helps workers avoid injury.

9. Communication

Radios are a great way to stay connected with workers, but also keep in mind that, nothing can replace having a standby worker positioned at the exit when workers are in a confined space. This tried and true system allows the outside person not only to communicate with workers within the space but also to call for help if it is needed.

10. Are you and your crew up to the task?

Can each team member be relied upon in a life-threatening situation?

This list is not meant to be comprehensive, check the OSHA Standards for that.

Stop to consider the dangers before you enter, and be mindful that confined spaces can become dangerous after you have entered.

Source: Vivid Learning Systems – Safety Toolbox

“Regulated Industry Successfully Challenges New OSHA Process Safety Management Enforcement Policies”

On September 23, 2016, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wrongfully adopted new safety requirements for fertilizer dealers who have to comply with the Process Safety Management Standard. Specifically, OSHA improperly issued a memorandum redefining the “retail facility” exemption and did not allow fertilizer dealers to comment on the new rules.

OSHA has promulgated a Process Safety Management (PSM) standard that implements certain requirements for employers to protect the safety of those who work with or near highly hazardous chemicals, and help prevent unexpected releases of such chemicals. Traditionally, retail establishments do not have to comply with the PSM standard because hazardous chemicals are present only in small volumes in such instances.

Following a 2013 explosion at a West Texas Fertilizer facility (videos above) that left 15 people dead after a large amount of ammonium nitrate caught fire, OSHA issued an enforcement memorandum expanding the scope of the PSM standard to cover more retail establishments, including agricultural dealers who sell anhydrous ammonia to farmers. Yet OSHA did this without requesting comments from the public or industry.

Working with legal counsel, the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute organized a successful lawsuit challenging the new rule. The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that OSHA violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it issued the enforcement memorandum, finding that OSHA had engaged in rulemaking, and was thus bound to solicit comments from the public and industry. As a result of the successful lawsuit, ag retailers do not have to comply with the PSM standard until OSHA receives comments from the public and industry regarding the proposed changes to the PSM standard, which could take several years to finalize.

Commenting on the decision, Harold Cooper, chairman of the ARA, said that “[a]s an industry, ag retailers tend to be complacent about regulations that come our way. We keep our heads down and do what’s required,” he said. “But this rule would have limited farmers’ and retailers’ options through an agency’s improper regulatory overreach. Thankfully, ARA was uniquely prepared and positioned to defend our industry. They gave us a vehicle to fight and win this battle.”

The court’s ruling will make it more difficult in the future for OSHA to issue de facto standards without undertaking proper rulemaking procedures and soliciting comments from the public. Companies should proactively work with skilled legal counsel who can assist on rulemaking processes that impact workplace health and safety.

Source: 9/27/2016 by Daniel BirnbaumMichael Taylor  | BakerHostetler

 

 

 

 

 

“Despite Two-Thirds of Organizations Naming Active Shooter as a Top Threat, 79 Percent Are Not Fully Prepared”

active-shooter-what-would-you-do

by Jeff Benanto

Everbridge recently partnered with Regina Phelps and Emergency Management and Safety (EMS) Solutions, a provider of professional consulting services in the area of incident management, business continuity planning and exercise design, to conduct research into the security challenges facing today’s companies, especially when it comes to active shooter situations. The “Active Shooter Preparedness” research report was conducted in July, 2016. A total of 888 individuals were surveyed about their safety plans and ability to manage an active shooter situation.

The key findings? Respondents were overwhelmingly concerned about violent acts – such as active shooter situations – taking place at their company or organization. Despite that worry, a majority of respondents also said that they were not properly prepared for an active shooter situation, highlighting communication to affected employees and individuals as one of the major issues. Here’s some more of the data:

  • 69 percent of organizations view an active shooter incident as a potential top threat, but 79 percent replied that their organizations were not fully prepared for this type of event.
  • Communicating with and confirming the safety of those in an impacted building were seen as the biggest challenges during an active shooter situation by 71 percent of organizations. Despite that, 39 percent still said they didn’t have a communications plan in place.
  • 61 percent do not run any active shooter preparedness drills at all.
  • 73 percent said that employees or students are willing to exchange some aspects of privacy for enhanced security.

Download the full report below and stay tuned for more from Everbridge and EMS Solutions, as we will detail the results further, along with prescriptive best practices, in future resources and webinars.

Download (PDF, 507KB)

For more information, including upcoming webinars covering this subject, visit theEverbridge website here.

“Infographic: 7 Steps of Workplace Emergency Planning”

7 Steps of Workplace Emergency Planning

7 Steps of Workplace Emergency Planning by Safety.BLR.com

“OSHA Emergency Lighting & Exit Sign Infographic”

OSHA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) give the general requirements for means of egress. 29 CFR 1910.35 defines a means of egress in this way: “A means of egress is a continuous and unobstructed way of exit travel from any point in a building or structure to a public way and consists of three separate and distinct parts.” They are:
Exit access—that portion which leads to the entrance of an exit.
Exit—that portion which is separated from all other spaces of a building or structure by construction or equipment to provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge.
Exit discharge—that portion between the termination of an exit and a public way.
OSHA requires that “each exit route be adequately lighted so that an employee with normal vision can see along the exit route”. 1910.37(b)(1).

OSHA also requires that “each exit must be clearly visible and marked by a sign reading “Exit”. 1910.37(b)(2). “Each exit route door must be free of decorations or signs that obscure the visibility of the exit route door.” 1910.37(b)(3). “Each doorway or passage along an exit access that could be mistaken for an exit must be marked “Not An ” or similar designation, or be identifed by a sign indicating its actual use (e.g., closet).” 1910.37(b)(5).

Exit Sign Requirements
Every sign must have the word “Exit” in plainly legible letters not less than six inches high, with the principal stroke of the letter .75 inches wide (29 CFR 1910.37(b)(7)). (See NFPA 101 7.10 for further specifications.) Where the direction of travel to the nearest exit is not immediately apparent, an exit sign or similar designation with an arrow indicating the direction to the exit is required (29 CFR 1910.37(b)(4)).

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Infographic provided by emedco, see more here: http://www.emedco.com

OSHA Exit information can be found by downloading this informative PDF file

https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/emergency-exit-routes-factsheet.pdf

 

 

“CSB Releases New Safety Video Entitled “Shock to the System” Offering Key Lessons for Preventing Hydraulic Shock in Ammonia Refrigeration Systems”

CSB

Latest Safety Video Includes Detailed Animation of 32,000- Pound Release of Ammonia in Alabama which Led to Offsite Injuries Including Multiple Hospitalizations in 2010

Washington, D.C, March 26, 2015 – Today the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its latest safety video detailing key lessons from the release of 32,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia that occurred at Millard Refrigerated Services Inc. on August 23, 2010. The accident resulted in over 150 exposures to offsite workers, thirty of which were hospitalized – four in an intensive care unit.

The newly released seven-minute safety video, entitled “Shock to the System,” includes a detailed 3D animation of the events that led up the resulting ammonia release. The video is based on the CSB’s recent View of cracked pipe following the 2010 ammonia release safety bulletin entitled “Key Lessons for Preventing Hydraulic Shock in Industrial Refrigeration Systems.”

Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “The CSB’s new safety video is a valuable tool intended for use at the large number of facilities that utilize anhydrous ammonia. The key lessons learned from our investigation – examined in our report and in this video — can help facilities prevent a similar accident from occurring due to hydraulic shock.”

The CSB’s video is available at its YouTube channel and at www.csb.gov

The CSB’s investigation found that the day prior to the accident the Millard facility experienced a loss of power that lasted more than seven hours. During that time the refrigeration system was shut down. The next day, on August 23, 2010, the system regained power and was up and running, though operators reported certain problems.  While doing some troubleshooting an operator cleared alarms in the control system, which reset the refrigeration cycle on a group of freezer evaporators that were in the process of defrosting.

This resulted in both hot, high-pressure gas and extremely low temperature liquid ammonia to be present in the coils and associated piping at the same time. This caused the hot high-pressure ammonia gas to rapidly condense into a liquid.  Because liquid ammonia takes up less volume than ammonia gas – a vacuum was created where the gas had condensed.

The sudden pressure drop sent a wave of liquid ammonia through the piping – causing a sudden pressure surge known as “hydraulic shock.”

This abnormal transient condition results in a sharp pressure rise with the potential to cause catastrophic failure of piping, valves, and other components. Often prior to a hydraulic shock incident there is an audible “hammering” in refrigeration piping,.

CSB Investigator Tyler said, “The CSB’s animation details how the pressure surge ruptured the evaporator piping manifold inside one of the freezers causing a roof-mounted 12-inch suction pipe to catastrophically fail, resulting in the release of more than 32,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia and its associated 12-inch piping on the roof of the facility.”

The release resulted in injuries to a Millard employee when he fell while attempting to escape from a crane after it became engulfed in the traveling ammonia cloud.  The large cloud traveled a quarter mile from the facility south toward an area where 800 contractors were working outdoors at a clean-up site for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A total of 152 offsite workers and ship crew members reported symptomatic illnesses from ammonia exposure. Thirty two of the offsite workers required hospitalization, four of them in an intensive care unit.

The video presents the key lessons learned from the CSB’s investigation including avoiding the manual interruption of evaporators in defrost and requiring control systems to be equipped with password protection to ensure only trained and authorized personnel have the authority to manually override systems. On the day of the incident, the control system did not recognize that the evaporator was already in the process of defrosting, and allowed an operator to manually restart the refrigeration cycle without removing the hot ammonia gas from the evaporator coil.

The CSB also found that the evaporators at the Millard facility were designed so that one set of valves controlled four separate evaporator coils. As a result, the contents of all four coils connected to that valve group were involved in the hydraulic shock event – leading to a larger, more hazardous pressure surge. As a result, the CSB notes that when designing ammonia refrigeration systems each evaporator coil should be controlled by a separate set of valves.

And the CSB found that immediately after discovering the ammonia release, a decision was made to isolate the source of the leak while the refrigeration system was still operating instead of initiating an emergency shutdown. Shutting down the refrigeration system may have resulted in a smaller release, since all other ammonia-containing equipment associated with the failed rooftop piping continued to operate. A final key lesson from the CSB’s investigation is that an emergency shutdown should be activated in the event of an ammonia release if a leak cannot be promptly isolated and controlled. Doing so can greatly reduce the amount of ammonia released during an accident.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, http://www.csb.gov.  For more information, contact public@csb.gov.

 

“School Safety Training & Tips”

Role_Specific_Charts-web

 

Safety Training Handouts – Here’s Some Help!!

Did you know that your School District’s Injury and Illness Prevention Plan requires that Supervisors talk to employees about Safety on a regular basis?

You should make Safety a topic at every staff meeting or opportunity. 

Do you need help with coming up with a training idea for staff?

Here are 52 – one for each week of the year – different handouts you can use. 

Some are technical, some are very simple – each one is about a specific topic.  Note that there are some similar topics – but each handout is different. 
Some include a test and a training verification form. 
If you use any of the handouts – be sure to include a sign up sheet and keep a copy of the sign up sheet with the handout for your OSHA records.  There is a training roster you can use to document attendance.
These documents are in a pdf format.  You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to print the documents.

Any questions?  

Any ideas for which you would like to have a handout created?  Let us know by clicking here to send the request to Terri.

4 Reasons to be careful at work
4 Steps to setting up your computer workstation
5 things to do to defuse violence
Accident Prevention
Air Quality
Are you Stressed?
Cafeteria and Food Service Safety
Can Walking Make you Fit?
Computer Ergonomics-Are you at Risk for Pain?
Death On Our Highways-Workers in Peril
Defensive Driving
eliminate Top Safety Threats to Prevent Electrical Injuries
Extension Cord Safety
Eye Protection
Eye Safety
Facts on Fire Safety
Fertilizers and Pesticides
Fire Safety
Fundamentals of Housekeeping
Gas Welding
Give yourself an out-emergency exits
guard against machine injuries
hand tools
handwashing
hazardous chemicals in the workplace
heat stress – tri fold brochure
how safe is work – stress
integrated pest management
keeping a clean and safe office or classroom space
ladder safety
lifting to protect your back
MSDS
Near miss reporting
Parking lot security
personal protective equipment-Feet first
Personal safety awareness
power lawn mowers
prevent slips, trips, and falls
prevent sprains and strains
preventing back injuries
preventing slips and falls
safe driving tips
safe lifting
safety tips for the office
safety-attitude and behavior
slips, trips and falls
the hazards of arts and crafts
top workplace hazards
what you need to know about hearing loss
winter driving safety
working safely with chemicals
workplace hazards-protecting your eyes and ears

“App of the Day” – WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders)

WISER for iOS on the App Store on iTunes 2014-10-05 17-03-46

WISER for iOS 3.1.1 Released & Important Ebola Resources‏

Download WISER for iOS here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wiser-for-ios/id375185381?mt=8

“SAFER Systems Unveils Free Chemical Emergency Response Smartphone App. With Real-Time Weather and Traffic Data”

SAFER Mobile Response on the App Store on iTunes 2014-06-26 16-27-15

SAFER Systems Unveils Free Chemical Emergency Response Smartphone App. With Real-Time Weather and Traffic Data

A must-have, “first on scene” tool for every first responder

Camarillo, CA (6/15) – SAFER Systems, the world’s leading chemical emergency response solutions provider, is proud to announce the debut of SAFER Mobile ResponseTM.  SAFER Mobile is a smartphone and tablet supported application that integrates the trusted 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG2012) with the power of Google Maps™, Google Traffic™, and live weather updates and forecasting.  The app puts crucial data at the fingertips of first responders and emergency services personnel when called to the scene of a hazardous materials incident.  The app is now available for free via iTunes or the Google Play store.

“First responders the world over recognize the ERG2012 as a trusted source for initial protective information and response guidance,” said SAFER Systems President, Allen Edmond. “We’ve taken that static, printed information and brought it to life in the more easily accessible environment of smartphones and tablets. SAFER Mobile Response converts the ERG protective distance charts into visual hazard zones and identifies key points of concern at risk using Google Maps and Google Places.”

“The app takes the widely accepted ERG2012 hazard zone guidance to the next level with real-time weather and traffic data. It will help responders plan their way to the incident scene and identify key municipal amenities at risk,” said SAFER System Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Bob Gerow.   “SAFER Mobile Response ensures the guide’s crucial information is available, anywhere, anytime.”

SAFER Mobile ResponseTM is just one of the ways SAFER Systems continues to lead in the preparation for and mitigation of hazardous events.  For decades, the company has been one of the most trusted names in chemical facility emergency management with a growing client list that is a who’s-who of the chemical industry and response agencies.

To download SAFER Mobile Response™ visit www.safersystem.com, play.google.com, or itunes.apple.com.  For more information visit www.safersystem.com.

About SAFER Systems: SAFER Systems is the leader in chemical emergency response solutions. For more than 30 years, its software has been used by the leading chemical facilities around the globe to assist in preparedness for and mitigation of chemical emergencies.  Among the more than 600 clients of SAFER are Agrium, Bayer, BP, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Dow Corning, ExxonMobil, Honeywell, Monsanto, OxyChem, PCS and Shell as well as leading transportation companies such as BNSF, CSX, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, CN Rail and Canadian Pacific Railway.   SAFER’s real-time, consequence assessment software has won numerous awards and is the only product of its kind to use full weather station and gas sensor data with patented algorithms that support source location and release rate estimation.  For more information, visit www.safersystem.com.

Google Maps™ and Google Traffic™ are properties of Google.

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