CSB Highlights Importance of Following Standards

Incidents cited in the Safety Spotlight document include the BP Texas City refinery explosion and fire, ConAgra Foods and Kleen Energy natural gas explosions, and the Imperial Sugar combustible dust disaster in Georgia in February 2008. Each example discusses standards or guidelines that were developed following the incident.

Safety Spotlight document posted March 12 by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) highlights the importance of following industry safety guidelines, standards, and codes. Incidents cited in the document include the BP Texas City refinery explosion and fire in March 2005; ConAgra Foods and Kleen Energy natural gas explosions in June 2009 and February 2010, respectively; combustible dust fires and explosions at a Hoeganaes facility in Tennessee in 2011; and the Imperial Sugar combustible dust disaster in Georgia in February 2008.

Each of the examples discusses standards or guidelines that were developed following the incident. For example, the American Petroleum Institute issued Recommended Practice (RP) 755, Fatigue Risk Management Systems for Personnel in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries, in April 2010 after CSB's investigation of the BP explosion concluded that operators of the BP refinery's isomerization unit were likely fatigued from working long hours over consecutive days during a turnaround of the unit prior to startup.

Similarly, NFPA developed a new gas process safety standard, NFPA 56, Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems, in response to CSB's recommendation from the ConAgra and Kleen Energy explosions.

The American Chemical Society developed a document in 2015 titled "Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories: Guidelines developed by the Hazards Identification and Evaluation Task Force of the American Chemical Society's Committee on Chemical Safety" in response to a January 2010 injury to a Texas Tech University graduate student in a chemical explosion that is discussed in the document.

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