Investigation highlights need for emergency drills
In June 2008, a heat exchanger ruptured and caused an ammonia release at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company plant in Houston, killing one worker and injuring six. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its investigation of the incident as a case study. Among CSB's conclusions: Shortcomings in Goodyear's maintenance schedule and emergency response plan contributed to the workers' injuries.
Employee tracking system down
The day before the incident, a maintenance worker closed a valve on the equipment to make repairs. The next day, an operator closed another valve, unaware that the maintenance worker had closed one the day before, the report said. The pressure built up until a violent explosion sent debris flying. The report also found that when managers ordered an evacuation of the facility, they were not able to get an accurate headcount because the employee tracking system was broken.
In the case study, CSB recommends that companies:
• ensure proper communication between maintenance crews and equipment operators, and
• conduct evacuation drills to test managers' and workers' ability to react quickly in an emergency.
Reprinted with permission
Safety Compliance Alert 2/23/11
Tue, April 19, 2011
by Kim Bowman