CSB calls on EPA to update HF study in wake of the 2017 Husky refinery fire

husky
The US Chemical Safety Board released a letter  April 24 calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to review its existing Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) study to determine the effectiveness of existing regulations as well as the viability of utilizing inherently safer alkylation technologies in petroleum refineries.  CSB Interim Executive Kristen Kulinowski said, “In the last 4 years, the CSB has investigated two refinery incidents where an explosion elevated the threat of a release of HF.  Refinery workers and surrounding community residents are rightly concerned about the adequacy of the risk management for the use of hazardous chemicals like HF.  The EPA should review its 1993 HF study to ensure the health and safety of communities near petroleum refineries utilizing HF.”  HF is a highly toxic chemical that can seriously injure or cause death at a concentration of 30 parts per million (PPM), which is used in about fifty of the U.S.’s...
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Pharmaceutical company plagued by supply problems after China plant explosion

Yancheng 62 killed in Yancheng chemical plant explosion
FiercePharma An explosion at a chemical plant in China that killed 62 people not only exposed weaknesses in China’s safety oversight, it exposed weaknesses in the global ingredient supply chain. The disruption from the blast has exacerbated shortages for Swiss pharma and chemical supplier Lonza. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE
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Manager knew safety concerns at Eastern Montana oil plant that exploded

Montana This photo provided by Wibaux County Disaster and Emergency Services, shows an eastern Montana oil recycling facility destroyed by an explosion and a fire in 2012 outside of Wibaux. Three workers were injured in the explosion.
PHOEBE TOLLEFSON/Billings (MT) Gazette Before a gas explosion consumed an Eastern Montana waste plant in 2012, the plant’s manager acknowledged the building was so poorly wired and ventilated that “we run the risk of killing someone.” TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE
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Worker nearly consumed by huge fire that bursts out of cotton yarn

cottonYarn
Dongguan, China - This is the terrifying moment a worker was engulfed in massive flames that suddenly burst out of some cotton yarn rolls on a truck in southern China. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.
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This week marks 20th anniversary of deadly chemical plant blast in Pennsylvania

conceptscience The destroyed Concept Sciences building and damaged other buildings in the Hanover Township industrial park.
Twenty years ago this week a chemical plant explosion in Pennsylvania killed five and injured six, becoming one of the first major investigations conducted by the newly established U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. The explosion occurred at Concept Sciences Inc., near Allentown, PA, on February 19, 1999. As a result of the explosion four Concept Sciences employees and the manager of an adjacent business were killed. Two Concept Sciences employees were injured, as were four people in nearby buildings. The explosion damaged ten buildings and several residences in the immediate area. The case study found that the explosion was most likely due to high concentration and temperature in a process vessel containing several hundred pounds of hydroxylamine, a potentially explosive chemical used in the manufacture of semiconductors. Concept Sciences' process safety management systems were insufficient to properly address the hazards inherent in its manufacturing process. The case study added...
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Dozens to be punished over China explosion that killed 19

yibin The blast in Yibin Hengda Technology Co. in Jiang'an County
POST ONLINE MEDIA Around 60 people are to be punished for their roles in a chemical plant explosion that killed 19 workers and injured 12 in southwest China's Sichuan Province last July, according to a report from the Xinhua news agency. To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.
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New problem for legal weed: Exploding pot factories

download-8 In 2016, two workers were sent to a burn unit after an explosion, pictured here, at a medical marijuana processor in Oregon. Felony charges were later brought against the business owner. | Danny Miller/Daily Astorian via AP
By REBECCA RAINEY/Politico States are facing a new danger as legal marijuana spreads across the country: Explosions and fires at cannabis factories are sending workers to the hospital with severe burns, revealing the nascent industry's lack of proper safety standards. To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.
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CSB releases final report on June 2016 Pascagoula gas plant explosion

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has released its final report of the June 27, 2016, investigation of an explosion and fire at the Enterprise Products Pascagoula Gas Plant in Pascagoula, MS. The CSB determined that the probable cause was a phenomenon known as thermal fatigue.  The CSB also issued recommendations to two trade associations and local emergency responders.   The incident occurred late in the evening on June 27, 2016, when a major loss of containment in a heat exchanger resulted in the release of methane, ethane, propane, and several other hydrocarbons. The hydrocarbons ignited, initiating a series of fires and explosions, which ultimately shut down the site for almost six months.  CSB Interim Executive Kristen Kulinowski said, “More than 500 gas processing facilities operate across the country and the use of similar heat exchangers is common. Extending the life cycle of equipment at these facilities requires more robust inspection protocols.  Operators shouldn’t...
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Chemical Safety Board preliminary report links refinery blasts in Wisconsin and California to cracking unit failures

A preliminary report released this week by the Chemical Safety Board blames recent refinery explosions in Superior, WI and Torrance, CA on the inadvertent mixing of hydrocarbons with air inside the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit that found an ignition source, resulting in an explosion.   On April 26, 2018, an explosion (Figure 1) and subsequent fire (Figure 2) occurred at the Superior Refinery Company LLC refinery in Superior, Wisconsin (“Husky Superior Refinery”).1 The incident occurred in the refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU). As a result of the explosion, thirty-six people sought medical attention, including eleven refinery and contract workers who suffered OSHA recordable injuries. In addition, a portion of Superior,2 Wisconsin was evacuated. Evidence collected to date suggests similarities with a previous investigation of the February 18, 2015 explosion at a refinery in Torrance, CA.   On Wednesday, February 18, 2015, an explosion occurred in the ExxonMobil Torrance, California refinery’s...
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Montana man sentenced to jail term for mislabeling and falsifying records related to transporting explosive materials

BILLINGS, MT - A Montana trucking company owner received a jail sentence of one year and a day in prison Friday on charges related to a December 2012 explosion at an oil processing plant that injured three employees.   U.S. District Judge Susan Watters ordered Donald Wood, Jr. of Baker and his company, Woody's Trucking, to pay $1.3 million in penalties and restitution.   The United States obtained a guilty verdict in United States v. Woody’s Trucking, LLC and Donald E. Wood, Jr. after an eight-day jury trial in Billings, Montana.  Both defendants were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, placarding violations and obstruction of justice stemming from an explosion at an oil and gas processing facility in Wibaux, Montana.  The defendants were convicted of 13 of 14 counts.  The one count of acquittal related to one of the placarding violations.  Forfeiture in the case amounts to $644,689.70.   On December 29, 2012,...
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Superior, WI fire chief presented Red Adair Award for April 2018 refinery fire response

    Industrial Fire World magazine honored Superior, WI Fire Chief Steve Panger with its 2018 Red Adair Award Friday (Aug. 10) in recognition of his department’s response to the April 26 fire and explosion that rocked the Husky Energy refinery in Superior.   For YouTube footage of the presentation, CLICK HERE or see below.     "Thank you to Industrial Fire World magazine for keeping the legacy of Red Adair alive," Panger said. "It's people like Red who have made advancements in the world of industrial fire fighting that definitely make our job safer today."   A preliminary report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board states that an initial explosion in a catalytic cracking unit at Husky Energy triggered a 15,000 barrel spill of hot asphalt that spread nearly two hours before ignition.   The award, presented during the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire-Rescue International Conference and Expo in Dallas, TX,...
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CSB releases factual update on April explosion and fire at Wisconsin refinery

  Superior, Wisconsin, August 2, 2018: Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a factual update into its ongoing investigation of the April 26, 2018, explosion and subsequent fires at the Husky Superior Refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. The initial explosion occurred in the refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) at approximately 10:00 am while the refinery was shutting down the FCCU for periodic maintenance and inspection. To date the CSB has determined the following: The explosion took place during a planned maintenance shutdown of the refinery FCCU. The incident occurred during a scheduled break time and many workers previously in the unit before the explosion had moved either into blast resistant buildings or away from the process unit. One piece of debris from the explosion flew about 200 feet, and struck a large, nearby, aboveground storage tank containing about 50,000 barrels of asphalt. The side of the tank was punctured,...
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Husky: $27M in damage, $53M in expenses, 2020 restart

Superior, WI - Following an explosion and fire in April, Husky Energy says its Superior refinery is not expected to resume normal operations until 2020.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.   .
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Shrapnel from explosion sets stage for huge Husky refinery fire in April

Rather than race to the scene, Superior, WI Fire Chief Steve Panger went straight to fire department headquarters when an April 26 refinery explosion rocked the community. Planning for an emergency response on the scale required that day had long been in place, he said.  “I knew we’d have callback crews of off-duty personnel reporting immediately,” Panger said. “My immediate job was to manage those crews and cover the fire stations emptied by the initial response to the blast.”  As the incident progressed and the stations were backfilled, Panger would move to the command post already set up by Husky Energy personnel. The explosion in a fluid catalytic cracking unit triggered an ongoing fire at the 38,000 bpd refinery that burned for the next eight hours, forcing an evacuation of Superior, population 27,000. Those residents were not allowed to return until the following morning. At the time of the blast, the...
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CSB: "Significant lack of planning for flooding" cited in final report into August 2017 Arkema chemical plant fire near Houston

  Houston, TX, May 24, 2018: The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its final investigation report into the August 31, 2017, fire at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. In the days leading up to the incident, an unprecedented amount of rain fell at the plant due to Hurricane Harvey, causing equipment to flood and fail. As a result, chemicals stored at the plant decomposed and burned, releasing fumes and smoke into the air.    CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Our investigation found that there is a significant lack of guidance in planning for flooding or other severe weather events. Based on other government reports, we know that there is a greater likelihood of more severe weather across the country. As we prepare for this year’s hurricane season, it is critical that industry better understand the safety hazards posed by extreme weather events.”    The Arkema chemical plant...
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CSB investigators deploying to specialty chemical plant blast in Pasadena, TX

A four-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to an incident that reportedly injured 21 workers at the Kuraray America facility in Pasadena, Texas on Saturday morning. The facility manufactures ethylene vinyl-alcohol copolymers, sold as EVALTM. Kuraray America is a Tokyo-based specialty chemical manufacturer.   A press release issued by Kuraray states that at the time of the incident, 266 employees and contract personnel were onsite as part of a turnaround with heavy maintenance activities. All have been accounted for. Twenty-one individuals were transported to off-site medical facilities for treatment.   Preliminary findings indicate a pressure safety valve released ethylene causing a flash fire in one of our process units. The company continues to work with authorities to complete the investigation. The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical incidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by...
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CSB releases final report into 2017 explosion at Louisiana pulp and paper mill

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released its final investigation report into the February 8, 2017, explosion at the Packaging Corporation of America’s (PCA’s) DeRidder, Louisiana, pulp and paper mill. The incident killed three contract workers that were performing welding and grinding, referred to as “hot work,” above a tank that contained flammable materials. Seven others were injured.    CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “As seen in this incident, hot work conducted around tanks containing flammable materials can be catastrophic. That is why it is so important for companies to effectively identify, evaluate, and control potential hazards prior to initiation of hot work.”   The explosion at PCA occurred during the facility’s annual shutdown. On the day of the incident, contract workers were welding on water piping above and disconnected from a 100,000-gallon-capacity storage tank. The tank contained about ten feet of liquid, called “foul condensate.” The foul condensate...
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CSB investigators deploy to probe explosion at oil refinery in Wisconsin

A four-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that reportedly injured multiple workers this morning at the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, WI. The refinery was shutting down in preparation for a five-week turnaround when an explosion was reported around 10 a.m. CDT April 26th. According to initial reports, several people were transported to area hospitals with injuries. There have been no reports of fatalities. Residents and area schools near the refinery were asked to evacuate due to heavy smoke. The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical incidents. 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...
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Texas VFD confronts uncertain silo situation

Making a proper on-scene assessment of a silo fire that forced an evacuation around a Texas grain mill in September 2017 proved awkward, said Easterly Fire Chief Jim Redden. An auger opening at the base of a 120-foot-tall, 24-foot-diameter storage silo was the only access to the intense flames roaring inside. “Everybody thought the fire was in the very bottom,” Redden said. “But I could see smoke venting from the top of the silo. If the fire was buried under 35 feet of corn you shouldn’t be seeing that smoke.” All that corn encased within eight-inch concrete walls made it difficult for thermal imaging to detect where the bulk of the fire lay, he said. Despite feeding a continuous stream of water into the silo, Redden became increasingly worried about the potential for a grain dust explosion. Grain dust is a highly explosive substance that must be handled carefully. In 1977,...
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CSB Will Investigate Fatal Well Explosion in Oklahoma

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced today that it will be moving forward with a full investigation into the fatal gas well explosion near Quinton, Oklahoma. The explosion fatally injured five workers. Upon notification of the incident, the CSB deployed two investigators to gather additional facts  to assist the Board in making  a decision regarding the scope of the investigation. Investigators arrived on site Wednesday morning and met with the lease holder for the well and the drilling operator.  CSB investigators will continue to meet with well service providers and the well site consultant company that had employees on site at the time of the incident. Evidence preservation and collection is the initial focus of the investigation.   The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency whose mission is to drive chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment. The agency’s board members are appointed by the...
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