CSB investigators said that ink manufacturer CAI did not follow regulations or appropriate good practices for the handling of flammable solvents, and
'The community damage was the worst we have seen in the ten-year history of the Chemical Safety Board,' said CSB Board Member William Wright, who accompanied the investigative team to the accident site. 'As others have noted, this explosion had a serious potential for life-threatening injuries and fatalities.'
Mr. Wright said, 'The immediate cause of the accident was the overheating of a highly flammable mixture for many hours. We found an underlying cause was CAI's failure to conduct a hazard analysis or other systematic review to ensure flammable liquids were safely handled during the manufacturing process.'
The CSB reported that the Solvent Vapor to Accumulate was allowed to accumulate over night. This could have been prevented if CAI had taken some precautionary measures such as alarms and shut off valves. From what I can tell it is very similar to what happened at the Texas BP you can watch the the short video. The CSB videos just keep getting better and better.
As in many of these cases The CSB found need changes in the Company processes, National Fire Codes, State Licensing and Inspection Procedures to Improve Safety of Facilities Handling Hazardous Materials.
- The inspections need to focus on fire code or permitting violations, venting of flammable storage containers, use of hoses for flammable service, and fire walls.
- Massachusetts needs to adopted current national fire codes for flammable liquids and storage. [Believe it or not an amended license from 1944 was still being used to store chemicals. This license was originally approved for 250 gallons of lacquer only then in 1955 it was amended to include6,000 gallons of miscellaneous flammable materials. The town stated that CAI could hold 1,500 gallons of 'miscellaneous' flammable materials for which The CSB was unable to find a licence for and I suppose that mattered little when CAI's storage held more than 20,000 gallons of liquid and 50,000 pounds of solid flammable material.]
- Obtain laws for inspection frequency or criteria.
- There needs to be a written Process Safety Management standard. [So Often I find that there are no process engineers or they are the first to go when downsizing. There goes saftey. It is common practice that the process engineer work with saftey management and is key to the written process for both production and saftey.]