Chemical Safety Board to review fatal incidents

Chemical Safety Board to review fatal incidents

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will review unrelated explosions that occurred on August 14 at Chieftan Energy in Logan, Ohio; on August 19 at an ARCO refinery in Carson, California; and on August 18 at Crawford Trucking Co., in Brooker, Florida.

In the Ohio incident, an 18-year-old Logan man died after being thrown 150 feet by an exploding oil tank. A 16-year-old female was thrown 60 feet by the explosion and was listed in serious condition after the incident. The force of the explosion threw the bulk of the tank about 100 yards.

In the ARCO explosion, reports from the company and responding firefighters indicate that a contract worker was killed and two employees injured after a small explosion occurred during routine maintenance welding on a tank in a cogeneration facility located on the grounds of ARCO`s Los Angeles area refinery. The welder worked for a California firm. The two injuries were reported to be minor.

Two workers and a young bystander were killed in an explosion at the Florida trucking company. According to the Bradford County Sheriff`s department, vapors ignited during a welding procedure.

“These incident reviews are not the comprehensive incident investigations led by the CSB`s own investigators that I believe are merited by the preliminary facts,” says Dr. Paul L. Hill, Jr., CSB chief executive officer. “However, because the CSB is operating with limited resources, a full investigation is not possible.”

The CSB will rely predominantly on the results of an investigation into the ARCO incident being conducted by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CAL OSHA). The CSB has asked the Fire Marshal Division of the State of Ohio Commerce Department to supply it with the results of its investigation of the Chieftan Energy incident. Reports prepared by the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other investigating organizations will be the basis for the CSB analysis of the Crawford Trucking Co.

The CSB, an independent federal agency modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board by Congress, began operating in January of this year. It is currently investigating or reviewing 15 incidents in 13 states, which have resulted in 25 fatalities, exhausting the Agency`s resources for Fiscal Year `98. Its mission is to ensure worker and public safety by preventing or minimizing the effects of industrial chemical incidents.

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