UpdateDuPont working on safety standards after US plant blast

19 April 2012 22:02  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds DuPont statements)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--DuPont is working on work standards to require the inside of storage tanks to be monitored for flammable substances before any welding is performed, in line with the recommendations of the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the company said on Thursday.

The new standards were developed in the wake of a 2010 explosion at a company plant in New York state that killed a contract welder and injured another.

The CSB investigated the explosion at DuPont’s Yerkes facility near Buffalo and said on Thursday it would urge DuPont to require monitoring for flammable vapours.

Although the tank being worked upon had been locked out of production, the CSB said flammable vinyl chloride had flowed through the overflow line into the tank to reach explosive concentrations.

“Although DuPont personnel monitored the atmosphere above the tank prior to authorising hot work, no monitoring was done inside the tank to see if any flammable vapour existed there,” the CSB said.

The safety board said a primary cause of the blast was “the failure of the company to require that the interior of storage tanks – on which hot work [welding] is to be performed ­– be monitored for flammable vapour”.

Plant manager Ronald Lee said in a prepared statement that “many of the agency's recommendations are closely aligned with the results of our own investigation and have been implemented”.

DuPont spokesman Rick Straitman said a requirement to monitor the inside of tanks before welding is "part of a new hot work standard developed by DuPont. It is undergoing final technical reviews prior to implementation.”

By: Brian Ford
+1 713 525 2653

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