May, 2019

This is a repeating event

201903MayAll DayAB Specialty Silicones Explosion 2019AB Specialty Silicones Waukegan (US-IL) Origin: CSB Lessons:Asset integrity,Operational IntegrityIndustry:ChemicalsCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Component malfunction

Summary

On May 3, 2019, a silicone manufacturing process generated a flammable gas inside an enclosed production building at the AB Specialty Silicones (‘AB Specialty’) facility in Waukegan, Illinois. At approximately 9:30 p.m., the flammable vapor cloud found an ignition source and ignited, causing an explosion and fire. The flammable vapor originated from the area where AB Specialty was making a silicon hydride emulsion.

The explosion fatally injured four AB Specialty employees and caused serious injury to another AB Specialty employee. At the time of the incident there were nine AB Specialty employees onsite. The explosion heavily damaged the AB Specialty’s production building. Additionally, the force from the explosion was felt up to 20 miles away in the surrounding communities, and some nearby businesses sustained damage from the blast. Post-incident, AB Specialty has resumed some of its operations at another location.

KEY ISSUES:
• FLAMMABLE GAS DETECTION
• FLAMMABLE GAS VENTILATION


Image credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

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