January, 2020

202001JanAll DayHousekeeping is more than “pretty” it’s about safetyProcess Safety Beacon | Keeping areas clean makes them safer Origin: CCPS Lessons:Operational Integrity,Risk AssessmentLanguage:EN


What happened?
A sugar mill had been operating for over 100 years; poor housekeeping procedures allowed sugar to accumulate around equipment and on structures. A plugged chute created a dust cloud that ignited and caused other explosions and fires. 14 people were killed, 38 were injured, and the plant was destroyed.

Why did it happen?
Sugar is combustible; while it is hard to ignite, explosions provide more than enough energy to cause damaging explosions and fires. The initial explosion created additional explosions fueled by sugar residue left in the process areas. The first event would have been severe, but the presence of accumulated sugar allowed secondary explosions and fires that greatly increased the impact. Housekeeping practices at that site were not well followed. Over years, a number of fires had occurred that were reported, but corrective actions were not effective nor sustainable.

(Ref CSB Investigation -Imperial Sugar Fire & Explosion 02/07/2008 report 2008-05-I-GA-6 – 09/24/2009)

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CCPSCenter for Chemical Process Safety