Failure to Understand Reactive Chemistry Hazards Leads to Fatal Accident

A fatal blast in 2007 at the T2 MCMT plant (a fuel additive) resulted from a fundamental lack of understanding of the reactive chemistry hazards - according to the investigation carried out by the US Chemicals Safety Board (CSB). In yet another excellent video, the CSB outlines the events that led up to the incident and explains the causes. The CSB investigation found that the company, T2, did not understand the reactive chemistry hazards, having scaled up their process from a bench scale. This meant that appropriate safeguards such as adequate relief systems, safety instrumented systems, back up cooling supplies were either inadequate or not in place and consequently staff training and operating procedures did not address this risk.

Two operators were killed instantly and two were killed by flying debris. 32 people in the vicinity were also injured. The plant was destroyed.

There is a wealth of published material on this subject, such as the guide produced by UK Health and Safety Executive. However figures show that in the US alone, 167 serious incidents of this type occurred between 1980 and 2001

Operating companies must understand and manage their risks. This type of tragic incident should not be happening in our industry.

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