April, 2002

This is a repeating event

200225AprAll DayKaltech Explosion 2002Kaltech Industries New York City (US-NY) Origin: CSB Lessons:Compliance with Standards,Contractor Management,Control of WorkIndustry:ManufacturingCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Confined explosion

Summary

On April 25, 2002, a chemical waste-mixing incident occurred at Kaltech Industries Group, Inc., a sign manufacturer located in the Chelsea district of New York City. At least 36 people were injured, including members of the public and six firefighters. Kaltech employees were consolidating hazardous waste from smaller containers into two larger drums when the explosion and fire occurred.

The Kaltech facility was located in a mixed-occupancy building in a densely populated urban area. Because the highly confined workspace in the basement offered limited pathways for the explosion to vent, there was extensive damage to the 10-story building. Street traffic was restricted for several days, and building tenants faced significant business interruptions.

KEY ISSUES:
• HAZARD COMMUNICATION
• HAZARDOUS WASTE HANDLING
• MUNICIPAL OVERSIGHT

ROOT CAUSES:
1. Kaltech did not develop or maintain a chemical hazard communication program in accordance with established OSHA standards.
2. Kaltech did not manage its hazardous waste in accordance with established EPA regulations.


Image Credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

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