US DuPont made improvements at site of W Virginia phosgene leak

07 July 2011 21:07  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--DuPont has undertaken a number of safety improvements following a 2010 accident in which one worker was killed after being exposed to phosgene at the company’s plant in Belle, West Virginia, the US-based chemicals major said on Thursday.

“Our goal is zero - meaning we believe all incidents and injuries are preventable,” DuPont said in reaction to the US Chemical and Safety Board's (CSB) draft report on a string of three serious incidents over a 33-hour period on 22-23 January 2010.

The CSB criticised DuPont for “preventable safety shortcomings” at the plant, and board member John Bresland called on DuPont to examine its safety culture company wide.

DuPont said based on its initial review of the CSB report, the board seems to have made a number of recommendations that are aligned with the recommendations from DuPont’s own internal investigation reports.  

“After we have had time for careful review of the draft report, we will provide comments to the CSB,” DuPont added.

Since the accident, DuPont has implemented all recommendations from its own investigations of the accidents at the Belle plant, it said.

The safety improvements at Belle include intensive operations safety review at each unit in addition to the normal safety processes and programmes; strengthening the process hazards review system to expand and improve employee participation; improving the maintenance and inspection system for hoses; and identifying and eliminating settings in the computerised maintenance system that could prevent maintenance work orders from being timely generated.

In addition, two of the processing units involved in the January 2010 incidents have been taken out of service over the last 18 months for business reasons, DuPont said.  

For more on DuPont and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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