Friday, April 24, 2009

Look What Bayer (the aspirin people) are up to

INSTITUTE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nine months after an explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute killed two workers, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released the results at a news conference Thursday.
Investigators say the explosion on August 28, 2008 was caused by a thermal runaway reaction during the production of an insecticide.
The event likely resulted from significant lapses in chemical process safety management at the plant, U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) investigators said Thursday.
Two operators died as a result of the explosion. Eight other workers reported symptoms of chemical exposure.
"The explosion at Bayer was a very serious and tragic event that could have had additional grave consequences," CSB Board Chairman John Bresland said. "There were significant lapses in the plant's process safety management, including inadequate training on new equipment and the overriding of critical safety systems necessitated by the fact the unit had a heater that could not produce the required temperature for safe operation."
The explosion occurred within 80 feet of a pressure vessel containing more than 13,000 pounds of methyl isocyanate, or MIC, Chairman Bresland said.
MIC is the same chemical that caused and injury in the Bhopal 25 years ago.
"As our investigation continues, we will look further into the issues surrounding the safe placement of the tank and its potential vulnerability," Bresland said. "We note that other chemical companies, notably DuPont, no longer store MIC in their chemical production and we are looking into other systems that make and then immediately use the MIC, eliminating the need for storage."

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