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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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“Conducting An Effective Job Hazard Analysis” – Infographic” #JHA #Safety

JHA_InfographicJob hazard analysis is an essential component of a successful safety program. This BLR infographic details the 6 steps of a JHA so you can assess the hazards at your facility and implement corrective actions.

“JHA Downloads”

JHA Checklist: http://bit.ly/20crSNM

OSHA JHA Powerpoint: http://bit.ly/1K1ebiT

“ANSI Emergency Eyewash, Shower Standard Revised – Are You In Compliance?”

By Roy Maurer  12/7/2015

The national consensus standard for the selection, installation and maintenance of emergency eye, face and shower equipment was recently updated.

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) received American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval for ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014, American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment, and the update went into effect January 2015.

There is no grandfather clause, and existing equipment must be compliant with the revised standard.

“This globally accepted standard continues to be the authoritative document that specifies minimum performance criteria for flow rates, temperature and drenching patterns,” said Imants Stiebris, chairman of the ISEA Emergency Eyewash and Shower Group and safety products business leader at Speakman Co.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a general requirement specifying where and when emergency eyewash and shower equipment must be available, but it does not specify operating or installation requirements.

That’s where the ANSI/ISEA standard comes in. While it doesn’t have the full force of an OSHA regulation, the standard helps employers meet OSHA requirements.

“Safety showers and eyewashes are your first line of defense should there be an accident,” said Casey Hayes, director of operations for Haws Integrated, a firm that designs, builds and manages custom-engineered industrial water safety systems. “We’ve seen OSHA stepping up enforcement of the standard in the last couple of years and issuing more citations,” he said.

What Is ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014?

The standard covers plumbed and self-contained emergency showers and emergency eyewash equipment, eye/face wash equipment, combination units, personal wash units and hand-held drench hoses. These systems are typically found in manufacturing facilities, construction sites, laboratories, medical offices and other workplaces.

The standard specifies minimum performance criteria for flow rates, temperature and drenching patterns for a user to adequately rinse off a contaminant in an emergency situation. It also provides maintenance directives to ensure that the equipment is in proper working condition.

One of the most significant requirements of the standard deals with the location of the equipment, Hayes said, and “It’s probably the most difficult part for employers to comply with.” The equipment must be accessible to workers within 10 seconds—a vague requirement, according to Hayes—but the standard’s appendix references 55 feet, he pointed out.

The wash or shower must be located on the same level as the hazard. “You can’t have somebody working on a stairwell and have to go up or down a flight to get to the shower. The equipment needs to be installed on the same level where the accident could happen,” he said.

The wash station must also be free of obstructions. “Someone needing to get to the shower or eyewash could be in a panic—their eyes could be blinded by chemicals—so employers must ensure that the shower is accessible and free of obstructions,” he said.

All equipment must be identified with highly visible signage, must be well-lit, and needs to be able to go from “off” to “on” in one second or less.

“The volume of water that is required for a 15-minute flow is not always considered,” Hayes said. The standard requires the victim to endure a flushing flow for a minimum of 15 minutes. With water pressure from the drench shower 10 times the amount of a typical residential shower, “that is a significant amount of water, and you need to deal with it on the floor and from a capacity standpoint,” he said.

The comfort of the person using the wash also needs to be considered. “It is not a pleasant experience to put your eyes in the path of water. The controlled flow of flushing fluid must be at a velocity low enough to be noninjurious to the user,” Hayes said.

The standard stipulates minimum flow rates of:

  • 0.4 gallons per minute for eyewashes.
  • 3 gallons per minute for eye/face washes. A good eye/face wash will have separate dedicated flows of water for your eyes and face, Hayes said.
  • 20 gallons per minute for showers. That’s 300 gallons of water required for the 15-minute wash.

Washes must deliver tepid water defined as between 60 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Studies have shown that tepid water increases the chances that a victim can tolerate the required 15-minute wash. Tepid water also encourages the removal of contaminated clothing, which acts as a barrier to the flushing fluid.

“We’re also seeing employers putting showers in enclosed areas or in curtained areas, to promote the removal of clothing and alleviate workers’ privacy concerns,” Hayes said.

2014 Revisions to the Standard

There weren’t that many changes to the 2009 standard, but a few highlights include the following:

  • A requirement was included that emergency showers be designed, manufactured and installed in such a way that, once activated, they can be operated without the use of hands.
  • The way the height of eyewashes and eye/face washes are measured changed from the floor to the wash basin to from the floor to the water flow. The height should still be between 33 inches and 53 inches. “Something to consider when inspecting washes is to ensure that, even though your wash fits within these limits, it’s still realistically usable,” Hayes said.
  • A single step up into an enclosure where the wash is accessed is not considered an obstruction. This had not been addressed previously.

The 2014 version further clarifies that fluid flow location and pattern delivery for emergency eyewashes and eye/face washes is the critical aspect in designing and installing these devices, rather than the positioning of nozzles. Additionally, illustrations have been updated to reflect contemporary design configurations.

Best Practices

Hayes recommended a few best practices that go above and beyond the standard and that he has seen used at companies with strong safety cultures:

  • Locate washes and showers in areas with adequate space for emergency responders to fulfill their duties. “If the equipment is in a tight space, you’re preventing responders from helping victims,” he said. Enclosures can be built to allow multiple people to be inside.
  • Monitor and evaluate all accessible components of washes and showers on a frequent and routine basis to manage potential problems.
  • Use eye/face washes in lieu of simply eyewashes. “It’s highly unlikely that a chemical splash will only land on your eye surface. This is common sense, so put in the right equipment,” he said.
  • Check that the washes meet the proper gauge height. The standard’s weekly activation requirement is mainly to ensure that water is available and to clear sediment buildup. “While a quick activation might seem sufficient, it’s not an accurate representation of functionality for the required 15-minute flush,” Hayes said. “If water is there but doesn’t rise up to the proper gauge height, you are compliant, but that equipment may fail you in the event that it’s needed.”

The ISEA’s new Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment Selection, Installation and Use Guide is a document that provides assistance on the proper selection, use and maintenance of equipment. The 22-page guide includes a frequently asked questions section and an annual inspection checklist.

The guide is available for download in PDF format.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

– See more at: http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/safetysecurity/articles/pages/emergency-eyewash-standard-revised.aspx#sthash.LEfV88ib.dpuf

“Donnie’s Accident” – “I Was Too Good To Need My Safety Gear”

Donnie's Accident

On August 12, 2004, I was connecting large electrical generator in preparation for Hurricane Charlie. The meter I was using failed and blew carbon into the gear and created an electrical arc which resulted in an arc blast. The electrical equipment shown in the video is the actual equipment after the explosion when my co-workers were there trying to restore power and make temporary repairs. I ended up with full thickness, 3rd degree burns to both hands and arms along with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to my neck and face. I was in a coma for two months due to numerous complications from infections and medications.

During this time my family endured 4 hurricanes and the possibility of losing me. I am a husband, a father, a son and a brother, not just an electrician. It took almost two years of healing, surgeries and rehabilitation to only be able to return to work to an office job. I can’t use my hands and arms as well as I once could… BUT I’M ALIVE! There are those who have had similar accidents and fared much, much worse. I use my experiences to caution others.

All of this could have been avoided if I had been wearing my personal protection equipment (PPE), which I was fully trained to do and was in my work van. I would have probably only gone to the hospital for a checkup! I am asking you to protect yourself by following your safety procedures. Accidents at work not only affect you; think about the effects on your family, your friends, your finances, your company, your co-workers… your entire world.

Most of these injuries can be prevented by following the safety rules your company probably have in place. Most of these rules were put in place because of accidents like mine. Be safe, wear your PPE; not for fear of fines, penalties or getting fired. Be safe for yourself and for all the people close to you. I got a second chance… You might not!!! !!!

You can read a more in depth account of my accident on the “Full Story” page.

OSHA Arc Flash Safety Information
Understanding “Arc Flash” – Occupational Safety and Health …
https://www.osha.gov/…/arc_flash_han…

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Employees must follow the requirements of the Arc Flash Hazard label by wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), use of insulated tools and other safety related precautions. This includes not working on or near the circuit unless you are a “qualified” worker.

“Does Your Facility Have An Effective Safety Culture? Is Safety Truly A Priority?

lead lag 2

One way to improve the effectiveness of your safety process is to change the way it is measured.

Measurement is an important part of any management process and forms the basis for continuous improvement. Measuring safety performance is no different and effectively doing so will compound the success of your improvement efforts.

Finding the perfect measure of safety is a difficult task. What you want is to measure both the bottom-line results of safety as well as how well your facility is doing at preventing accidents and incidents. To do this, you will use a combination of lagging and leading indicators of safety performance.

Lagging indicators of safety performance

What is a lagging indicator?

Lagging indicators measure a company’s incidents in the form of past accident statistics.

Examples include:

  • Injury frequency and severity
  • OSHA recordable injuries
  • Lost workdays
  • Worker’s compensation costs

Why use lagging indicators?

Lagging indicators are the traditional safety metrics used to indicate progress toward compliance with safety rules. These are the bottom-line numbers that evaluate the overall effectiveness of safety at your facility. They tell you how many people got hurt and how badly.

The drawbacks of lagging indicators.

The major drawback to only using lagging indicators of safety performance is that they tell you how many people got hurt and how badly, but not how well your company is doing at preventing incidents and accidents.

The reactionary nature of lagging indicators makes them a poor gauge of prevention. For example, when managers see a low injury rate, they may become complacent and put safety on the bottom of their to-do list, when in fact, there are numerous risk factors present in the workplace that will contribute to future injuries.

Leading indicators of safety performance

What is a leading indicator?

A leading indicator is a measure preceding or indicating a future event used to drive and measure activities carried out to prevent and control injury.

Examples include:

  • Safety training
  • Ergonomic opportunities identified and corrected
  • Reduction of MSD risk factors
  • Employee perception surveys
  • Safety audits

Why use leading indicators?

Leading indicators are focused on future safety performance and continuous improvement. These measures are proactive in nature and report what employees are doing on a regular basis to prevent injuries.

Best practices for using leading indicators

Companies dedicated to safety excellence are shifting their focus to using leading indicators to drive continuous improvement. Lagging indicators measure failure; leading indicators measure performance, and that’s what we’re after!

According to workplace safety thought leader Aubrey Daniels, leading indicators should:

  1. Allow you to see small improvements in performance
  2. Measure the positive: what people are doing versus failing to do
  3. Enable frequent feedback to all stakeholders
  4. Be credible to performers
  5. Be predictive
  6. Increase constructive problem solving around safety
  7. Make it clear what needs to be done to get better
  8. Track Impact versus Intention

While there is no perfect or “one size fits all” measure for safety, following these criteria will help you track impactful leading indicators.

How Caterpillar used leading indicators to create world-class safety

An article on EHS Today titled, “Caterpillar: Using Leading Indicators to Create World-Class Safety” recaps an interview with two Caterpillar executives who explained how they were able to successfully transition to a culture that utilizes leading indicators for safety.

According to the execs at Caterpillar, “… traditional metrics can help companies tell the score at the end of the game, but they don’t help employers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their safety efforts and cannot help managers predict future success.”

By utilizing a Safety Strategic Improvement Process (SIP) that emphasized leading indicators of safety, they saw an 85% reduction of injuries and $450 million in direct/indirect cost savings.

According to the article, the critical elements of the SIP included:

  • Enterprise-wide statement of safety culture.
  • Global process, tools and metrics.
  • Top-down leadership of and engagement with the process.
  • Clearly defined and linked roles and responsibilities.
  • Clearly defined accountability.
  • Consistent methods establishing targets and reporting performance.
  • Consistent criteria for prioritizing issues and aligning resources.
  • Recognition for positive behavior and performance.
Conclusion

To improve the safety performance of your facility, you should use a combination of leading and lagging indicators.

When using leading indicators, it’s important to make your metrics based on impact. For example, don’t just track the number and attendance of safety meetings and training sessions – measure the impact of the safety meeting by determining the number of people who met the key learning objectives of the meeting / training.

What metrics do you use to measure your facility’s safety performance? Do you use a combination of leading and lagging indicators?

Contractors: “Who Is Responsible For Their Safety?”

If you hire contractors, perform contract work, or work at a multi-employer work site, it can be difficult to determine what your safety responsibilities are. Use this infographic to gain a better understanding of how multi-employer rules apply in common situations and what you should look for when hiring a contractor.

Contractors: Who's Responsible for Safety?

Contractors: Who’s Responsible for Safety? by Safety.BLR.com

“Infographic: How Does Your Safety Culture Stack Up?”

Both OSHA observations and independent research confirm that developing a strong safety culture has the potential to have the greatest impact on incident reduction of any process. Check out the infographic to find out what we learned about the state of safety culture from a recent BLR survey of over 500 EHS professionals, HR professionals, and other individuals involved in safety at their organizations.

Learn more about the survey results by attending BLR’s Safety Culture 2016 conference September 15–16 in Austin, Texas. Register here.

safety-culture-2016

“Workplace Injuries By The Numbers – Every 7 Seconds A Worker Is Injured On The Job”

Nearly 13,000 American workers are injured each day. These numbers are staggering, and the worst part is that each one is preventable. Taking preventative action can spare workers needless pain and suffering.

Journey to Safety Excellence
Provided by the National Safety Council

“The “Vert Alert” Lanyard Attachment Warning System Saves Lives”

VertAlertSCA_full

The VertAlert verbally warns the lift operator if the safety harness lanyard has not been properly attached to the lift anchor point. The VertAlert will not allow the lift to proceed UP until it has verified this proper attachment.

It will also collect and store data on lift activity including safety violations and if any attempts were made by the operator to circumvent this safety system. See more information about this unique and excellent system at: http://millennialplatform.com/ or email Paul Baillergian at  paul@suncook-intl.com 

“TSCA Reform: A Simple 5-point Summary of What You Need to Know “

After 40 years, the Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been reformed in an effort to more effectively manage chemicals in this country and give EPA more authority to evaluate and mitigate the associated risks. This infographic summarizes the important points of TSCA reform.

TF-TSCA-reform-info

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