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Safety Engineering, Case Study Example

Pages: 3

Words: 761

Case Study

The accident which is to be reviewed in this essay is the hot work explosion which took place on November 9, 2010 at the E. I. DuPont Nemours & Co Inc. inorganic chemical manufacturing plant will be reviewed. The accident occurred as a result of contracting personnel who had been conducting welding operations on the superior aspect of a slurry tank which had a ten thousand gallon capacity. Flammable vapors which were a result of the mixing of polyvinyl fluoride in the slurry tank came into contact with the sparks from the welding operations.  An explosion subsequently occurred which caused the superior aspect of the slurry taking to become ejected from the rest of the tank. One of the workers was catapulted to the ground and died as a result of traumatic injuries sustained from the fall. Another worker suffered severe burns (Benton, 2012; CSB, 2014; Risk Prom, 2014).

The tank which had been the recipient of the hot work operations was one of three tanks which were applied for the overflow of polyvinyl fluoride. The polyvinyl fluoride was applied in order to make resins which had been used for industrial coatings. The inputs to the tanks had been closed a few days prior in order to prepare for the hot works operation. This had been part of the hot work procedure at the E. I. Du Pont Nemours & Co Inc. manufacturing plant. A sensor was subsequently applied prior to the commencement of the hot works operation to the superior part of the tank in order to test for the presence of vapors (Benton, 2012; CSB, 2014; Risk Prom, 2012).

The sensor indicated that there were no vapors present. As the slurry tank which had been the recipient of the hot work operation was applied simply for the overflow of the primary tank, the engineers at the E. I. DuPont Nemours & Co Inc. manufacturing plant perceived that there would be no residual flammable vapors in the slurry tank which was used to contain the overflow from the primary tank. This had been attributed to the aspect of the inlet valves having been closed for several days. The hot work operations caused the sparks to enter through one of the apertures which was applied for the mixing machinery in the tank. The sparks came into contact with the flammable vapors which had been present in the tank and a blast occurred (Benton, 2012; CSB, 2014; Risk Prom, 2014).

Assessment

In my opinion, the precautions which should have been applied during the hot works process which occurred at the E. I. DuPont Nemours & Co Inc. plant at Buffalo, N.Y. should have incorporated the following precautions: The fire hazards should have been removed. This infers to the gas which had been present in the overflow tank. The gas should have been completely evacuated and an inspection should have been performed with regards to the indie of the tank prior to the commencement of any hot work operations (OSHA 29 CFR 1910. 252 (a) (1) (ii); OSHA 29 CFR (a) (3) (iii)).

Considering that the restrictions could not be avoided, the hot work process should have been avoided. The ventilator shaft for the mixing device should have been sealed prior to commending hot work. This was the point where the welding sparks ignited the gas (OSHA 29CFR 1910.252 (a) (20) (ii)). The fire watch personnel should have been present during the hot works operations (OSHA 29CFR (a) (2) (iii) (A)).  The welding operations were performed in conditions where the atmospheric conditions enabled the accumulation of flammable vapors. The vapors were inside the overflow tank and pipe (OSHA 1910. 252(a) (2) (vi) (C)).

Conclusion

The explosion which had occurred on November 9, 2010 at the Buffalo, New York at the E. I. Du Pont Nemours & Co Inc. plant could have been avoided if the safety standards for hot works processes which are recommended by OSHA had been applied. As a result of the accident, OSHA required amendments to be made to the hot works processes which would be subsequently conducted at the E.I. Du Pont Nemours & Co Inc. plant.

References

Benton, J. (2012). CSB Report on fatal welding explosion at DuPont buffalo facility finds c company overlooked hazard: recommendation calls on company to monitor flammable vapor inside storage tanks during hot work. EHS Safety News America.

CSB (2012). Case Study- E.I. DuPont Nemours & Co Inc. Buffalo, N. Y. Flammable vapor explosion welding on tank containing vinyl fluoride, November 9, 2010. U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigations Board.

OSHA (2014). Regulations (Standards 29CFR) OSHA.

Risk Prom (2014). Hot work; hidden hazards. You Tube.

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