February, 2017

This is a repeating event

201708FebAll DayPCA (Deridder) Explosion 2017PCA DeRidder (US-LA) Origin: CSB Lessons:Asset integrity,Commitment & Culture,Control of Work,Risk AssessmentIndustry:Pulp & PaperCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Maintenance error

Summary

On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at approximately 11:05 am, a foul condensate tank, part of a non-condensable gas system, exploded at the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) containerboard mill in DeRidder, Louisiana. The explosion killed three people and injured seven others. All 10 people were working at the mill as contractors. The explosion also heavily damaged the surrounding process. The foul condensate tank travelled approximately 375 feet and over a six-story building before landing on process equipment.

At the time of the incident, the mill was undergoing its annual planned maintenance outage, also referred to as a shutdown. The foul condensate tank likely contained water, a layer of flammable liquid turpentine on top of the water, and an explosive vapor space containing air and flammable turpentine vapor.

KEY ISSUES:
• PROCESS SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
• INHERENTLY SAFER DESIGN
• PROCESS HAZARD ANALYSIS
• INEFFECTIVE SAFEGUARDS
• HOT WORK SAFETY MANAGEMENT

ROOT CAUSES:
1. PCA did not evaluate the majority of the non-condensable gas system, including the foul condensate tank, for certain hazards. The DeRidder mill never conducted a process hazard analysis to identify, evaluate, and control process hazards for the non-condensable gas system.
2. PCA did not expand the boundaries of its process safety management program beyond the units covered by safety regulations.
3. PCA did not effectively apply the hierarchy of controls to the selection and implementation of safeguards that the company used to prevent a potential non-condensable gas explosion.
4. PCA did not evaluate inherently safer design options that could have eliminated the possibility of air entering the non-condensable gas system, including the foul condensate tank.
5. PCA did not establish which mill operations group held ownership of, and responsibility for, the foul condensate tank.
6. PCA did not apply important aspects of industry safety guidance and standards.


Image credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

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