February, 2003

This is a repeating event

200307FebAll DayTechnic Explosion 2003Technic Inc. Cranston (US-RI) Origin: CSB Lessons:Control of Work,Emergency Preparedness,Management of Change,Risk AssessmentIndustry:ChemicalsCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Confined explosion

Summary

A February 7, 2003, explosion and fire inside a vent collection system (VCS) at Technic Inc., in Cranston, Rhode Island, critically injured one employee, who suffered permanent eye damage and chemical burns to his face and upper body. Eighteen other employees were sent to the hospital for medical evaluations, and the fire department evacuated the surrounding community. Facility operations were interrupted for several weeks.

The explosion and fire were caused by a violent chemical reaction inside the vent collection system, which was likely initiated when the employee tapped on a duct with a small hammer. The building where the incident occurred housed several chemical processes that were connected to the ventilation system.

KEY ISSUES:
• INCOMPATIBLE CHEMICAL MIXING
• PROCESS SAFETY REVIEW
• MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE
• PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE
• EMERGENCY PLANNING & RESPONSE

ROOT CAUSES:
1. Technic did not conduct a process safety review as a part of the engineering process to identify and evaluate the hazards associated with installing a vent collection system to handle the exhausts from multiple processes.
2. Technic did not identify and evaluate the hazards created by changes to facility processes and equipment (i.e., management of change).


Image Credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

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