OSHA Probing Deadly Blast at La. Chemical Plant
Officials from the south Louisiana chemical plant where an explosion killed two workers and injured dozens of others say they still don't know the cause of the blast.
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#1 Jun 15, 2013
The problem seems to be the lack of monitoring and inspections in these plants. When in the most recent case of possible over pressuring of a vessel with nitrogen there should have been engineering steps taken to safely pressurize the vessel. These engineering steps should be monitored reported by a qualified inspector to insure the steps are followed properly according to the Engineering procedures. API 510 and 570 pressure vessel and piping certified inspectors are typically used to monitor the pressurizing and will report the activities and list any procedures that were not properly followed or halt the pressurizing due to an unsafe act in progress.
The lack of proper inspections and maintenance attribute to many failures due to the cost and down time involved in properly inspecting and maintaining the plant equipment. Proper inspections and maintenance are mandatory by OSHA 1910.119 Process Safety Management. These inspection and maintenance activities should be in accordance with ASME and API Codes for plant equipment in operation. OSHA should be auditing all plants no matter how big or small to insure independent contract 3rd party API certified inspectors are on site to monitor and perform proper inspections and reporting of plant activities. The failure to properly inspect and maintain the plant equipment saves the plants a lot of money but injuries and deaths are unfortunately are sometimes the result. If OSHA does not have enough auditing inspectors to get the job done then OSHA should hire more to insure all plant are complying with OSHA 1910.119 Process Safety Management.
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