June, 2009

This is a repeating event

200909JunAll DayConAgra Explosion 2009ConAgra Garner (US-NC) Origin: CSB Lessons:Competency,Compliance with Standards,Control of Work,Incident Investigation,Operating ProceduresIndustry:Food & DrinkCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Maintenance error

Summary

On June 9, 2009, a major natural gas explosion heavily damaged the ConAgra Slim Jim meat processing factory in Garner, North Carolina, just south of Raleigh. Three workers were crushed to death when a large section of the building collapsed. The explosion critically burned four others and sent a total of 71 people to the hospital including three firefighters who were exposed to toxic anhydrous ammonia from the plant’s refrigeration system. Approximately 18,000 pounds of ammonia were released to the environment and 100,000 square feet of the plant were damaged. Due to the severity of the structural collapse, there was the potential for numerous additional deaths or serious injuries.

KEY ISSUES:
• DIRECTLY VENT PURGED GASES TO A SAFE LOCATION OUTDOORS, AWAY FROM PEOPLE AND IGNITION SOURCES.
• USE COMBUSTIBLE GAS DETECTORS TO MONITOR THE GAS CONCENTRATION DURING PURGING OPERATIONS.
• ENSURE PERSONNEL INVOLVED IN GAS PURGING OPERATIONS ARE FULLY TRAINED.

ROOT CAUSES:
1. Purging into equipment vicinity is common practice


Image credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

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