Category Archives: Industrial Accidents

Compressed Gas Poses a Fatal Hazard

The dangers of compressed gas have been outlined in a report into three accidents at a chemical manufacturing plant in West Virginia (WV) in 2010.

Failures at the DuPont Corporation’s Belle chemical manufacturing plant which included the fatal release of phosgene gas, were outlined in the report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, Fire Engineering reported.

 

The three accidents that occurred on January 22 and 23, 2010, at the West Virginia (WV) plant – including a fatal release of deadly phosgene gas, a chemical used as a chemical weapon in World War One.

In this fatal accident an 58-year-old worker died from exposure to phosgene. The chemical leaked when a braided steel hose attached to a tank ruptured. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s final report followed extensive public consultations.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said in the Fire Engineering publication report: “Our final report shows in detail how a series of preventable safety shortcomings — including failure to maintain the mechanical integrity of a critical phosgene hose — led to the accidents. That this happened at a company with DuPont’s reputation for safety should indicate the need for every chemical plant to redouble their efforts to analyze potential hazards and take steps to prevent tragedy.”

The board also released this safety video about the dangers of compressed gas.

When things go wrong in industry the results can be horrific, as seen at this chemical plant. The consequences of deadly mistakes can also be costly for the companies involved. Recently we  reported on how two companies responsible for the faulty construction of an industrial oil heater at a natural gas plant in Texas (TX) were ordered to pay $85 million to survivors of a worker killed after a heater at the plant exploded.

Official investigations into fatal industrial accidents often result in violations or shortcomings being uncovered be it the death of a sanitation worker in a Norfolk, VA truck or the deaths of many miners at a West Virginia (WV) coal mine.

When gas is compressed there is a potential toxicity and asphyxiation danger even in the case of harmless gases such as nitrogen because the compression makes the gas a potential bomb, not to mention a potential legal time bomb for companies that fail to take all necessary precautions.

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Filed under Compressed gas, Industrial Accidents, Wrongful Death