Process Safety Failings Run Deep, CSB's Wark Says

Informing his audience that a 12th victim of the Feb. 7 Imperial Sugar explosion in Port Wentworth, Ga., had died, U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board member William Wark yesterday listed numerous process safety failings that he said are common in many plants around the country. His list included maintenance that is delayed or not done, poor or nonexistent public notification of hazardous processes and stored chemicals in their midst, incomplete analysis of process hazards, ignored and unenforced procedures, little training in abnormal procedures, and too little follow up of near misses. Wark spoke in Dallas to attendees at ISNetworld's 2008 Annual Users Group Conference. OSHA chief Edwin Foulke Jr. also gave a keynote speech there Thursday in which he said OSHA has trained more Compliance Safety and Health Officers -- the agency's inspectors -- to perform combustible dust inspections as part of its National Emphasis Program targeting dust hazards. The Port Wentworth blast was probably a dust explosion, CSB has said.

"We continue to forget the lessons learned. We continue to run things to failure, in many cases," Wark said during his speech. "We're finding all over the country that there's not the type of off-site planning with the community, with facilities, that should be done." He said he's working with CSB staff to produce a video on emergency planning preparedness that he hopes will be used nationwide to address this problem.

Wark also said CSB hopes to raise awareness of confined space hazards significantly, even though it has a small professional staff of only about 40 people.

Foulke discussed OSHA's current National Emphasis Programs and said the next one the agency will undertake will target chemical plants. There are 81 to 84 refineries in the United States that will be inspected by OSHA within the next two years as part of its current petrochemical refineries/process safety management NEP, he said. The conference (visit www.isnetworld.com) continues today.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue