Investigation still ongoing at CF's Louisiana facility

02 July 2013 21:14  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based fertilizer producer CF Industries (CF) said on Tuesday that company investigators, along with officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are still investigating the cause of the 14 June rupture of a nitrogen distribution header at its facility in Donaldsonville, Louisiana.

The incident occurred when the distribution header, which receives nitrogen from tanker truckers and disperses to the rest of the plant, apparently ruptured during the off-loading in the Ammonia 3 unit, which was undergoing a planned turnaround. There was no fire, explosion or release of chemicals during the incident, but veteran employee Ronald Morris, 55, was killed.

The company said on Tuesday that one person remains hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries.

There are 11 plants at the complex, with five units dedicated to ammonia production. The unit involved in the accident has a production rate estimated at 1,600 tons/day of ammonia.

“CF immediately stopped all turnaround activities until it was determined that we could safely resume these activities," said Blythe Lamonica, a company spokesperson. "CF Industries has resumed limited turnaround activities at the Ammonia 3 plant. The location within the Ammonia 3 plant where the incident occurred remains restricted. All other plants at the Donaldsonville complex are operating as scheduled and have been since the incident.”

CF is not estimating when the joint investigations will be complete or how much damage was done, but officials said the physical damage to the facility appears to be minimal. OSHA officials previously said it would not comment on any ongoing investigation, adding that it has up to six months to complete its work.

This is not the first fatality at the plant as three workers were killed and nine injured in May 2000 as a result of an explosion and subsequent fire. OSHA eventually fined CF approximately $150,000 (€115,500) for 14 alleged safety and health violations.

($1 = €0.77)


By: Mark Milam



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