EPA Releases Case Study on Chemical Explosion

April 17, 2000
Based on its review of an explosion and fire at the Chief Supply Corp. in 1997, EPA released a case study on the dangers of waste fuel blending operations.

Based on its review of an explosion and fire at the Chief Supply Corp. in Haskell, Okla., EPA released a case study, "Prevention of Reactive Chemical Explosions," on the dangers of waste fuel blending operations.

The accident, which occurred on March 26, 1997, killed one worker, injured two others, and caused extensive damage to the facility.

Although the study, does not identify the exact cause of the accident, the potential for such an incident exists whenever strong oxidizers are mixed with oxidizable and combustible organic substances.

EPA identifies lessons learned in hopes that other facilities will profit from past mistakes and prevent them from happening in the future.

Some of the pointers from the study include the following.

  • Facilities must ensure that all chemical processing hazards and their consequences are evaluated, understood and appropriately addressed and controlled.
  • Facility management needs to foster open communication with all levels of employees about hazard awareness and lessons learned, and take immediate action to address concerns raised by workers.
  • The steps for safe start-up, shutdown, routine operations, emergencies and maintenance must be documented in Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These must be understood, periodically reviewed and kept up-to-date.
  • Facilities must ensure that employees are trained in their job responsibilities. Facility managers should also ensure that failures are recognized, evaluated and addressed.

A copy of the case study is available at www.epa.gov.

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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