Chemical factory explosions can be devastating – even fatal – which is why it is so vital to have chemical plant safety practices in place to avoid any accidents because they are preventable.
Chemical plant disasters can be avoided through consistent, scheduled maintenance and the documents to prove that scheduled maintenance was conducted. The Williams Olefins plant explosion and fire in Geismar, Louisiana, in 2013, was the result of poor communication during safety procedures and unsafe equipment. Unfortunately, the explosion also resulted in the fatalities of two workers.
Some of the most common causes of chemical plant accidents are:
Most chemical factory explosions, fires, and accidents are not caused by just these standalone factors, but they involve multiple factors above working together to build up the risks.
The United States Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has created specific safety guidelines that must be followed by chemical plant employers and employees. This is because the organization has determined that the existence and further release of toxic, reactive, and flammable substances in various industries could result in catastrophic explosions, resulting in injuries and accidents.
OSHA’s Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) standard, for example, addresses requirements that ensure safe workplaces for employees when in use of chemicals in the general and construction industries. PSM also incorporates technology and management procedures.
According to OSHA, proper training for programs is the best way to keep employees safe.
Through Proper Training. From initial training for new employees to ongoing refresher training every three years, employers are responsible for providing the kind of training that gives employees a clear understanding of operating procedures of the chemical plant, safety guidelines, and emergency response if necessary. There should also be a record that employees attended the training and understood the information.
Through Proper Safety Equipment. Dozens of equipment is out there for employers to protect chemical plant workers and lessen the risk of accidents, including:
Through Proper Plant Design. Before the construction of the chemical factory building itself, there are design elements that can be drawn into the floorplan’s layout to decrease safety hazards and risks, including:
Dangerous incidents onsite can be thwarted by employers who spend the time to: thoroughly train employees on a consistent basis, monitor ongoing equipment maintenance, ensure no costs are cut on safety equipment, and make sure all employees know what steps to take in an emergency situation. In the event of an incident, a Houston chemical plant explosion attorney may be able to help make sense of the situation and hold the responsible party accountable.