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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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“Current Needs Assessment of the U.S Fire Service Report – Infographic”

fourthneedsassessmentinfographic

With the recent release of the “Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service” report, it may be challenging to really understand and capture the needs of the U.S fire service with the massive amount of great information this report provides. To view all of the biggest takeaways from this report, make sure you take a look at our easy-to-read Infographic available to you here.

This document gives you a detailed, yet clear-cut picture of the needs and challenges that our fire service faces each year. You can also download the infographic, fact sheet, full report (also available in the link above), and more information about this report here.

Some highlighted topics include:

  • Training needs
  • Health and wellness
  • Sufficient staffing
  • Cancer and Contamination

Source: by Blair Prince Employee on Feb 27, 2017

“Grain Bin Safety” – “Don’t Get Buried Alive….In An Instant” #GBSW17

Video From ABC TV Series “In An Instant”

Grain Bin Safety Week – 15 Tips to Keep You Safe

1.) Maintain grain quality (e.g. moisture, heat, etc)

2.) Never enter a bin without a “bin entry permit”

3.) Never enter a grain bin unless it is really truly necessary

4.) Never enter a grain bin alone – have an outside observer who can both see and hear you

5.) Most young teens do not have the experience, training or qualifications to help you.

6.) Time is of the essence – if you’re engulfed, it takes only 90 seconds for you to die

7.) The outside observer needs to have a sure quick method to contact emergency responders in an emergency

8.) Always lockout unloading equipment before entering (so they can’t be turned on by mistake)

9.) Always check oxygen (min 19.5%) and toxic/inflammable gas levels (phosphine CO2 dust etc) before entry

10.) Always, always use secure a lifeline (harness/rope/ladder) for everyone inside

11.) Ensure that there’s adequate lighting inside  People---Group-of-Firefighters Nationwide Agribusiness

12.) The lifesaving tip of last resort = cross your arms in front of your chest if you’re sinking – so that you can breathe

13.) Even during the most frantic times, never every risk your or anyone else’s life with a 5-minute shortcut

14.) Have a written plan for training and rescue

15.) The most important safety tip – train-and-practice often

Grain bin safety is such an important task that no one should take lightly. In addition to the tips above we want to share a fantastic contest with you that is going on now. Nominate your local fire department to win an invaluable grain bin rescue training and the rescue tube, brought to you by Nationwide Agribusiness.

Other great resources:

Learn more about our sponsor Nationwide Agribusiness on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4zOjiKXz6o – and their website.

Download the “Safe Grain Bin Entry” PowerPoint Presentation Below!

Safe Grain Bin Entry

“VIDEO: Bad Train Car Axle Likely To Blame For Explosive 2013 Derailment In ND, Final NTSB Report Says”

ntsb

CASSELTON, N.D. — In releasing a long-awaited investigation report, the National Transportation Safety Board said a defective axle that broke was the likely cause of a fiery 2013 collision between an oil train and a derailed grain train just outside Casselton.

At an NTSB meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Washington, D.C., crash investigators said the axle had an empty space in the center of it that should have been solid.

NTSB investigators learned that a Pennsylvania company, Standard Steel, made the flawed axle in 2002, among a total of 48 axles manufactured under similar conditions, investigator Michael Hiller said. Thirty-five of those axles, which may have similar defects, are not accounted for, he said.

“We can only assume that the axles have been removed from service due to life cycle, due to other accidents,” he said.

Hiller said 10 of the axles were found and taken out of service. It was discovered that two others were involved in separate accidents in 2010 in Nebraska, he said. No one was hurt in the two accidents, which were derailments that involved broken axles, according to Federal Railroad Administration records.

The Casselton collision between two BNSF trains happened on the afternoon of Dec. 30, 2013. It forced about 1,500 residents to evacuate their homes. No one was seriously injured.

Shortly afterward, NTSB investigators began focusing on the broken axle, which was on a derailed grain car. They found that the axle’s bearings and wheels were remounted by BNSF in 2010 and that more thorough testing of the axle would have caught the flaw.

The Association of American Railroads began requiring such testing of secondhand axles following an NTSB recommendation in April 2014, Hiller said. BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth said this sort of testing wasn’t standard practice in 2010.

The crash, which triggered massive explosions and received national media attention, highlighted the dangers of moving crude oil by rail. The tank cars involved were DOT-111s, which Congress has since required to eventually be replaced by more rugged DOT-117s that are believed to be safer.

“Yet the deadlines for replacing variants of the DOT-111 tank car, for carriage of various flammable liquids, fall along a timeline that extends from 2018 to 2029, leaving Americans at heightened risk for years to come,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart. “While few DOT-111 tank cars remain in crude oil service, a vast fleet of these less safe tank cars continues in service for ethanol and other flammable liquids.”

McBeth said that since 2011, BNSF has “advocated for a new, stronger tank car standard and has worked with our customers to get safer tank cars into service sooner.”

The NTSB investigation found that after 13 cars from the westbound grain train derailed, the train’s emergency brakes were applied. At that point, the eastbound oil train was 18 seconds away, traveling at 42 mph. The oil train was likely moving at about that speed when it hit the grain car lying across the track, the NTSB said.

Twenty oil cars derailed, and 18 of those spilled more than 476,000 gallons of oil, fueling a fire that engulfed intact cars and caused them to explode, the NTSB said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the NTSB showed a video of the crash, including the frantic radio traffic of an oil train crew member. “We are on fire,” he told a train dispatcher. “We are derailed. We are all over. We got to go.”

The front door of the oil train’s lead locomotive was damaged, so the two crew members narrowly escaped through a rear door shortly before the locomotive was engulfed in flames, the NTSB said.

Between the two lead locomotives of the oil train and the 104 tank cars was what’s called a buffer car that’s meant to protect the train crew from hazardous materials. In its investigation report, the NTSB recommended a study of whether more buffer cars should be required.

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss has said the three-year-plus investigation into the crash took longer than usual because the agency used it as a vehicle to examine train safety features, such as advanced braking systems. Such braking systems, which can reduce stopping distance, would not have prevented the crash because only a few seconds passed between the time the oil train crew saw the derailed grain car and the moment of impact, Hart said.

The oil train engineer and conductor both sued BNSF after the crash. The conductor reached a confidential settlement with the railroad in July, and the engineer’s suit, which also targeted Standard Steel, is still pending.

Phone messages left for Standard Steel representatives were not returned Tuesday.

Source: AGWEEK 

bentonsafetytwitter

“AA Batteries Cause House Fire In Hastings, Nebraska” & How To Store Batteries Safely In The Home” #FireSafety

AA Batteries Rolling Around In Camera Case Cause House Fire In Hastings, Nebraska

“How To Store Batteries Safely In The Home”

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) — Some of us may have that kitchen junk drawer that has loose batteries, tools, and other items in it, but these drawers might be a fire waiting to happen. If batteries touch in the wrong way, they might catch fire and cause a lot of damage.

“Don’t let them just roll in there,” Big G Ace Hardware Store Manager Linda Dill said. “Don’t let them roll against the screwdriver, because it can just transfer onto another battery or something down the line. The best thing to do is to store them upright and somehow covered.”

Fire officials said not only 9-volt batteries but other typs as well, contribute to rising cause of home fires in the last 4-5 years due to inappropriate storage of all household batteries in the home.

“You’d see them in many homes, but the positive and negative end of that battery are both very close,” Chief Kent Gilbert with the Hastings Fire Department said. “It’s easy for those to be shorted accidentally. It’s important to remember that it will create enough heat to cause a fire.”

Putting masking tape on batteries is one way to prevent them from touching. Plastic bags are another way.

“Putting them in plastic bags with all the negatives up, all the positives up, or however you want to do that,” Dill said. “Make sure they’re tight, so they don’t roll around in that.”

Officials said when people are done using the batteries they should get rid of them immediately to help ensure safety.

It’s recommended that people keep the original packing of the batteries and leave them in there until they are ready to use them.

screenshot-www-graphiq-com-2016-12-28-17-56-24

See exact data here on fire loss in deaths, dollar loss, and injuries: http://bit.ly/2hunDks

“Grain Bin Safety” – “Don’t Get Buried Alive….In An Instant”

Video From ABC TV Series “In An Instant”

Grain Bin Safety Week – 15 Tips to Keep You Safe

1.) Maintain grain quality (e.g. moisture, heat, etc)

2.) Never enter a bin without a “bin entry permit”

3.) Never enter a grain bin unless it is really truly necessary

4.) Never enter a grain bin alone – have an outside observer who can both see and hear you

5.) Most young teens do not have the experience, training or qualifications to help you.

6.) Time is of the essence – if you’re engulfed, it takes only 90 seconds for you to die

7.) The outside observer needs to have a sure quick method to contact emergency responders in an emergency

8.) Always lockout unloading equipment before entering (so they can’t be turned on by mistake)

9.) Always check oxygen (min 19.5%) and toxic/inflammable gas levels (phosphine CO2 dust etc) before entry

10.) Always, always use secure a lifeline (harness/rope/ladder) for everyone inside

11.) Ensure that there’s adequate lighting inside  People---Group-of-Firefighters Nationwide Agribusiness

12.) The lifesaving tip of last resort = cross your arms in front of your chest if you’re sinking – so that you can breathe

13.) Even during the most frantic times, never every risk your or anyone else’s life with a 5-minute shortcut

14.) Have a written plan for training and rescue

15.) The most important safety tip – train-and-practice often

Grain bin safety is such an important task that no one should take lightly. In addition to the tips above we want to share a fantastic contest with you that is going on now. Nominate your local fire department to win an invaluable grain bin rescue training and the rescue tube, brought to you by Nationwide Agribusiness.

Other great resources:

Learn more about our sponsor Nationwide Agribusiness on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4zOjiKXz6o – and their website.

Download the “Safe Grain Bin Entry” PowerPoint Presentation Below!

Safe Grain Bin Entry

“New TSCA Law Starts NOW!”

tsca_carousel

“For the first time in 20 years, we are updating a national environmental statute,” said President Obama before signing the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act on Wednesday. The president noted that the updated law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which took effect in 1976 “didn’t quite work the way it should have in practice.” That was a vast understatement, particularly in regard to the regulation of existing chemicals. The president pointed out that of the 62,000 chemicals in the marketplace in 1976, only 5 have been banned.

“Five,” said the president. “And only a tiny percentage have even been reviewed for health and safety. The system was so complex, it was so burdensome that our country hasn’t even been able to uphold a ban on asbestos—a known carcinogen that kills as many as 10,000 Americans every year.”

The president added that the new law will do away with an outdated bureaucratic formula to evaluate safety and, instead, focus solely on the risks to public health.

Industry Pushed Hard

The law passed both chambers of Congress with overwhelming, but not unanimous, support. Pockets of resistance remain, particularly regarding the law’s provision allowing federal preemption of state action on chemicals the EPA is reviewing. Nonetheless, the law made it to the president’s desk despite today’s extremely partisan climate in Washington. The president noted that passage of the legislation revived the bipartisan tradition of the early 1970s when Democrats and Republicans came together to pass “those pillars of legislation to protect our air, and our water, and our wildlife.”

The president specifically thanked the American Chemistry Council and S.C. Johnson, both of which “pushed hard for this law,” noting also that the law “gives them the certainty they need to keep out-innovating and out-competing companies from other parts of the world.”

In its statement of support following congressional approval, S.C. Johnson spoke favorably of EPA’s new authority to systematically prioritize all chemicals currently in commerce for safety evaluations.

What’s Next?

The law took effect with the president’s signature.  The major deadlines in the law apply to the EPA. As the EPA sees it, the most immediate effect is on the new chemicals review process. The Agency is now required to make an affirmative determination on a new chemical or significant new use of an existing chemical before manufacturing can commence. For companies that submitted premanufacture notices (PMNs) before enactment, which are currently undergoing review, the new law effectively resets the 90-day review period.

EPA’s other deadlines include the following:

  • Within 180 days, the Agency must publish an initial list of at least 10 high-priority chemicals and 10 low-priority chemicals. Within 3.5 years, the EPA must have 20 ongoing risk evaluations.
  • The EPA must publish an annual goal for the number of chemicals to be subject to the prioritization screening process. The Agency must also keep current and publish a list of chemicals (1) that are being considered in the prioritization process, (2) for which prioritization decisions have been postponed, and (3) that are designed as high- or low-priority chemicals.
  • When unreasonable risks are identified, the EPA must take final risk management action within 2 years or 4 years if an extension is needed.
  • Within 2 years, the EPA must develop any policies, procedures, and guidance necessary to carry out the bill’s requirements with respect to (1) requesting safety data from manufacturers or processors, (2) prioritizing existing chemicals for evaluation of their risks, (3) reviewing new chemicals or significant new uses of existing chemicals, and (4) conducting safety assessments and safety determinations on whether a chemical meets the safety standard. Those policies, procedures, and guidances must be reviewed every 5 years and revised as necessary to reflect new scientific developments or understandings.
  • Within 9 months, the EPA must publish a list of those chemical substances it has a reasonable basis to conclude are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT). Within 2 years after enactment, the EPA must designate as a chemical of concern each chemical substance on the PBT list. Not later than 2 years after this designation, the Agency must promulgate a rule with respect to the chemical substance to reduce likely exposure to the extent practicable.
  • Any confidential business information (CBI) claims to protect the specific identities of existing, active chemicals on the list from disclosure would need to be reaffirmed and substantiated. The EPA must maintain both a confidential and nonconfidential portion of its chemical inventory. Within 5 years of compiling that list of active chemicals, the EPA must establish a plan to review all CBI claims.
Funding

Also, the law provides a means for the Agency to collect the money it will need to do all of the above and more. Specifically, the statute allows the Agency to collect up to $25 million a year in user fees from chemical manufacturers and processors in addition to supplements approved by Congress.

The new TSCA law is here.

Source: BLR

“Grain Bin Safety” – “Don’t Get Buried Alive….In An Instant”

Video From ABC TV Series “In An Instant”

Grain Bin Safety Week – 15 Tips to Keep You Safe

1.) Maintain grain quality (e.g. moisture, heat, etc)

2.) Never enter a bin without a “bin entry permit”

3.) Never enter a grain bin unless it is really truly necessary

4.) Never enter a grain bin alone – have an outside observer who can both see and hear you

5.) Most young teens do not have the experience, training or qualifications to help you.

6.) Time is of the essence – if you’re engulfed, it takes only 90 seconds for you to die

7.) The outside observer needs to have a sure quick method to contact emergency responders in an emergency

8.) Always lockout unloading equipment before entering (so they can’t be turned on by mistake)

9.) Always check oxygen (min 19.5%) and toxic/inflammable gas levels (phosphine CO2 dust etc) before entry

10.) Always, always use secure a lifeline (harness/rope/ladder) for everyone inside

11.) Ensure that there’s adequate lighting inside  People---Group-of-Firefighters Nationwide Agribusiness

12.) The lifesaving tip of last resort = cross your arms in front of your chest if you’re sinking – so that you can breathe

13.) Even during the most frantic times, never every risk your or anyone else’s life with a 5-minute shortcut

14.) Have a written plan for training and rescue

15.) The most important safety tip – train-and-practice often

Grain bin safety is such an important task that no one should take lightly.

Other great resources:

Learn more about our sponsor Nationwide Agribusiness on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4zOjiKXz6o – and their website.

Download the “Safe Grain Bin Entry” PowerPoint Presentation Below!

Safe Grain Bin Entry

“U.S. Chemical Safety Board Releases New Safety Video, “Dangerously Close: Explosion in West, Texas,” Detailing Report Findings and Recommendations on 2013 Fatal West Fertilizer Company Explosion and Fire “

January 29, 2016, Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a safety video into the fatal April 17, 2013, fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, which resulted in 15 fatalities, more than 260 injuries, and widespread community damage. The deadly fire and explosion occurred when about thirty tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) exploded after being heated by a fire at the storage and distribution facility.

The CSB’s newly released 12-minute safety video entitled, “Dangerously Close: Explosion in West, Texas,” includes a 3D animation of the fire and explosion as well as interviews with CSB investigators and Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland. The video can be viewed above or on the CSB’s website and YouTube.

Chairperson Sutherland said, “This tragic accident should not have happened. We hope that this video, by sharing lessons learned from our West Fertilizer Company investigation, will help raise awareness of the hazards of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate so that a similar accident can be avoided in the future.”

The CSB’s investigation found that several factors contributed to the severity of the explosion, including poor hazard awareness and fact that nearby homes and business were built in close proximity to the West Fertilizer Company over the years prior to the accident. The video explains that there was a stockpile of 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the facility in plywood bins on the night of the explosion. And although FGAN is stable under normal conditions, it can violently detonate when exposed to contaminants in a fire.

In the video, Team Lead Johnnie Banks says, “We found that as the city of West crept closer and closer to the facility, the surrounding community was not made aware of the serious explosion hazard in their midst. And the West Fertilizer Company underestimated the danger of storing fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate in ordinary combustible structures.”

The CSB investigation concludes that this lack of awareness was due to several factors, including gaps in federal regulatory coverage of ammonium nitrate storage facilities. The video details safety recommendations made to OSHA and the EPA to strengthen their regulations to protect the public from hazards posed by FGAN.

Finally, the video explains how inadequate emergency planning contributed to the tragic accident. The CSB found that the West Volunteer Fire Department was not required to perform pre-incident planning for an ammonium nitrate-related emergency, nor were the volunteer firefighters required to attend training on responding to fires involving hazardous chemicals. As a result, the CSB made several safety recommendations to various stakeholders, including the EPA, to better inform and train emergency responders on the hazards of FGAN and other hazardous chemicals.

Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “The CSB’s goal is to ensure that no one else be killed or injured due to a lack of awareness of hazardous chemicals in their communities. If adopted, the Board’s recommendations can help prevent disasters like the one in West, Texas.”

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 makes safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, www.csb.gov

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

 

“New NIOSH Smart Phone App Addresses Ladder Safety”

Contact: Christina Spring (202) 245-0633

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announces the availability of a new Ladder Safety smart phone application (app). This new app uses visual and audio signals to make it easier for workers using extension ladders to check the angle the ladder is positioned at, as well as access useful tips for using extension ladders safely. The app is available for free download for both iPhone and Android devices.

Falls from ladders are a common source of preventable construction injuries. Misjudging the ladder angle is a significant risk factor for a fall. If the ladder is set too steep it is more likely to fall back or away during use, and if it is set too shallow then the bottom can slide out.

“The ladder safety app is an innovative way to help keep workers safe and a tool to reduce these preventable injuries,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “The development of this smart phone app also demonstrates how we are constantly working to make science-based practical information accessible to workers and employers in a way they need and can easily use.”

The app provides feedback to the user on positioning the extension ladder at the optimal angle. It also provides references and a safety guide for extension ladder selection, inspection, accessorizing, and use. It was developed with input from the ANSI A14 committee on Ladder Safety, the American Ladder Institute, and other stakeholders.

NIOSH collaborated with DSFederal on the final development and testing of the app before release. The app is based on a multimodal inclination indicator for ladder positioning that has been recently awarded a US patent. To learn more and download the Ladder Safety app visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/falls/ and to learn about the campaign to prevent falls in construction go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/construction/stopfalls.html.

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about our work visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/.

  

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