Analysis from 2008 Fatal Goodyear Plant Accident
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) unveiled a case study on the 2008 heat exchanger rupture and ammonia release at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Houston. The board noted gaps in facility emergency response training and is seeking added adherence to existing industry codes.
The accident occurred on June 11, 2008, when overpressure in a heat exchanger led to a major rupture of the exchanger, hurling debris that struck and fatally injured a Goodyear employee. The exchanger contained pressurized anhydrous ammonia, a colorless, toxic chemical, used as a coolant in the production of synthetic rubber. Five workers were exposed to ammonia released by the rupture.
CSB reports that on the day prior to the accident, maintenance work required closing several valves on the heat exchanger. Investigators found that workers closed a valve that isolated the exchanger from a relief valve in order to replace a burst disk. The next morning an operator closed another valve to start cleaning the line with steam. Unaware that the isolated valve was also closed, pressure grew, leading to the explosion.
CSBs final report highlights the need to adhere to existing boiler and pressure vessel code standards.
It reports that plant personnel were not properly trained to effectively manage the emergency and that maintenance activity was not properly passed along between maintenance and operations personnel.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
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