CSB's Report on Danvers Blast Coming May 13

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's report on the November 2006 chemical explosion at CAI/Arnel in Danvers, Mass., will be issued May 13 if the board votes to approve it at a public meeting that evening in Danvers, closing federal and state investigations of an incident that caused friction between CSB and the state's fire marshal and may prompt tougher state rules for facilities that process chemicals.

The CAI/Arnel facility exploded around 2:45 a.m. Nov. 22, starting a fire and damaging about 250 homes, 20 businesses, a school, 300 passenger and commercial vehicles, and 65 boats. The facility itself was destroyed, and several neighboring structures were damaged beyond repair. About 20 nearby residents were treated, but no one died. State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan's office subsequently eliminated natural gas, methane gas, the facility's furnaces, two dust collection systems at the facility, and the facility's fuel farm -- underground chemical storage tanks -- as possible causes/ignition sources. Coan's report in March 2007 concluded the blast involved heptane vapors and was caused by inadvertent overheating of the chemical in a mixing vessel. Any of several ignition sources in the building could have ignited it, the report stated; the Boston Globe noted in its account of the report that Coan was critical of CSB at that time, saying the board was not opening its files on the case to his investigators.

Coan on March 11, 2008, issued four non-criminal citations to CAI Inc. (which owned and operated the facility) and Arnel Co. Inc. for alleged failure to store flammables in a prescribed manner, failure to obtain a permit to store flammables and combustibles, failure to obtain a permit for the underground storage tanks, and failure to obtain a permit to store LP gas. Each carried a $100 fine. Coan sought a criminal complaint against the companies for allegedly storing more flammable liquids and solids than their licenses permitted for the premises -- an allegation the companies denied.

William Wark, a CSB member, has said the Danvers incident underscores the need to better inform the public of the hazards of chemicals stored in their midst. The May 13 public meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Ferncroft Resort in Danvers. After a presentation by CSB investigators, there will be presentations by witnesses discussing changes in local and state safety oversight that have been proposed since the incident, a public comment period, and then the board's vote on the report.

Download Center

  • Hand Safety Program

    Hand injuries are the #1 preventable industrial accident worldwide. In REThink Hand Safety, the most comprehensive book on hand safety, you'll learn how top companies have reduced hand injuries by up to 90% and what the most successful hand safety programs have in common. Get your free copy today.

  • Free 1-on-1 Consultations

    Get a free meeting with a Superior Glove hand safety expert and learn how to have less hand injuries, lower PPE costs, and increase worker productivity. 1-on-1 consultations provide you with personalized advice and recommendations for your specific needs and concerns.

  • Glove 101 Guide

    In this comprehensive guide, we've compiled all the key information you need to know about safety gloves to help you make informed decisions when choosing gloves for your workers. Whether you're new to the world of safety gloves or an experienced pro, this guide has something for everyone.

  • Sample Program

    Find the right safety gloves for your team and try before you buy—in just 3 easy steps! Simply add the products to your sample box, complete the request form, and wait for your samples to arrive at no cost to you.

  • Cut Protection Product Guide

    Find the right safety gloves for your workers to protect them from cut hazards. This guide offers a wide selection of gloves, including ultra-thin gloves with the industry’s maximum cut resistance for unbeatable dexterity and touch sensitivity.

  • Superior Glove

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - February March 2023

    February March 2023


      Does Real-Time Data Enhance Gas Detection Programs?
      Hearing Protection: The Dangers of Non-Compliance
      Personal Protective Equipment: The Pains of Staying Pain-Free
      Reframing Eyewear: Meeting Workforce Needs with Technology and Advancements
    View This Issue