Posts Tagged ‘ plant accident ’

What to do when Chemical Plant Accidents Happen

One of the causes of chemical plant accidents is the failure of management to educate its workers on how to protect themselves from hazardous substances that are present in the workplace. Accident prevention measures must be in place to avoid occurrence of industrial accidents.

Manufacturing plants that produce cobalt metal and cobalt powder are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide their workers with good quality of personal protective garments and gears to protect them from contacting cobalt metal dust and fume while working. Workers should be informed about the relevance of wearing the protective clothes and equipments by emphasizing that their health and safety are dependent on how they protect their bodies when at work. The management of manufacturing plants should impose sanctions whenever an employee fail or refuse to wear the required clothes and equipments. If management will not impose strictly this particular requirement there will be workers who will attempt to disobey thereby making them prone to chemical plant accidents.

Workers in cobalt producing plants must observe proper hygiene at all times to avoid chemical plant accidents. They are required to wash their faces, hands and arms with soap and water before eating or smoking, before using lavatories or before taking medicine. Workers are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, take medicine in a place where processing of cobalt metals take place.

A person who accidentally inhales cobalt dusts can become sick because when the dusts enter his lung, they can block the air from entering the lung so the affected person can feel shortness of breath. Cobalt dusts cause coughing and excessive production of mucus or phlegm. Results of chemical accident investigations revealed that continuous exposure to cobalt dusts can prevent a person’s lung to function normally which can lead to interstitial lung disease. More serious effects brought by cobalt dust inhalation are heart attack and thyroid disorders. Also when a person’s skin has a contact with cobalt substance, he is likely to suffer dermatitis. Irritation can be present in areas where parts of the skin rub each other. Further, an accidental intake of cobalt substance can poison a person that can lead to polycythemia and hyperplasia, in which both conditions can primarily affect a person’s bone marrow.

If a manufacturing plant stores other substances particularly strong oxidizing agents, they should be stored separately from cobalt substances to avoid serious or fatal chemical plant accidents. A spontaneous fire may occur when cobalt substance fuses with bromide pentaflouride. If worse comes to worst, explosion may take place. Fire and explosion will not only destroy lives and properties but also the environment. News about latest accidents involving fire pinpointed cobalt powder and fumes to have contributed to large fires that occurred in the USA.

To protect their workers, chemical plants should always follow the recommendations of a government regulatory body like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and adhere to the saying that “an ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure”.


Chemical Plant Safety: Ways to Protect the Workforce

Manufacturers of cobalt should observe chemical plant safety to protect their workers and also the environment.  Cobalt is a hard metal which resembles iron and nickel. Production of cobalt is important because this type of metal has many uses when combined with other metals or other substances. The use of cobalt can produce high temperature high speed cutting tools. The metal is also useful in electroplating and producing steel and stainless steels magnets.  Cobalt is also useful for coloring glass, porcelain, pots and tiles and producing an ink. In the medical world cobalt is used as cancer treatment. In agriculture, cobalt is used as an additive to feeds for cattle.

As people enjoy the many benefits provided by cobalt, workers who are instruments in the production of stuffs from cobalt face the perils that can be brought by the substance if manufacturers will not impose chemical plant safety in the work areas.  Safety in chemical plants should always be observed to avoid chemical plant accidents. Workers’ exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume can be in the form of inhalation, physical contact of eye or skin to the substance or intake. Plant owners should implement the following methods to control the excessive exposure of their workers to cobalt metal, cobalt dust and cobalt created fumes:

  • The processing area should be enclosed but properly installed with local exhaust ventilation
  • The workers should be required to wear protective clothing and use protective equipments

Per recommendation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers should be allowed to work for eight hours but the limit of exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume should not be more than 0.1mg for every cubic meter of air. Per recommendation of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), for workers working up to ten hours a day or 40 hours a week, the limit of their exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume should not exceed 0.05 mg for every cubic meter of air. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) however, lowers down limit of exposure to the substance to 0.02 mg for every cubic meter of air if workers will work ten hours a day or 40 hours a week.

Without chemical plant safety, plant manufacturers will not be able to observe the given exposure limits above.  As a result, workers can suffer dermatitis and lung diseases. Workers who have skin allergies can be severely affected by cobalt when physical contact is present. Workers who inhale cobalt dust or fume are likely to suffer pulmonary tract infections. When ingested, cobalt can cause poisoning that can affect a worker’s bone marrow, damage his thyroid gland and damage his pancreas’ alpha cells.

Plant owners who manufacture cobalt must never forget that their workers are one of the most valuable assets in their companies. There can be no other people to do the work that they are capable of. Aside from a reasonable pay, they deserve to have a safe workplace.


Hot Work Permits and Dangers of Hot Work

Chemical Safety Board US released a safety video about the dangers of hot work recently. In that video, some real cases of chemical plant accidents caused by hot work were presented.

This video shows the importance of hot work permits that have to be got before hot works can be conducted at site. We will see how fire and or explosion happened when hot works were being conducted.

Chemical Safety Board would like to emphasize how to do correct preparations with correct methods prior to hot work execution. Complete hot work permits could eliminate hot work hazards. (more…)

Important Notes Taken From DuPont Gas Leak

methyl chloride leakDuPont recently reported the causes of methyl chloride leak from the phosgene unit in last January at its West Virginia chemical plant, which caused one worker died. Phosgene is a hazardous chemical used for manufacturing of pesticide and plastic that can damage the respiratory system.

According to DuPont report that was published in, the causes of the gas leak were aging hoses, corrosion and pressure build up in the line. Combination of these factors had caused hoses failed to function properly. (more…)

Potential Hazards in Chemical Industries

The Most Common Potential Hazards in Chemical Industries

By Lukman Nulhakiem

 If we talk about potential hazards in chemical industries, there will be long discussion about that matter. Although one chemical plant has similar nature with one another, but each plant comes with its unique hazards.

potential hazards in chemical industriesIn this article, I will write about potential hazards in chemical industries in general which is in turn it can be used as inputs for preparing hazard identification work for your own plant site. This is very important mainly for companies which have not determined hazards list within their plant sites yet.

As a reminder, I recommend you to read my previous article about hazard identification study as well as hazard control methods if you have never experienced in making hazard list for your plant. (more…)

Taking Notes From Middletown Power Plant Explosion

Middletown power plant exploded on last 7 February, when natural gas vent operation was being done. The accident caused at least 6 people died and several others injured. Several similar accidents had also occurred in the past.

In the Middletown power plant explosion, there were some important notes that we could take whenever we do similar operation. Chemical Safety Board said Middletown explosion was due to lack of safety measures. (more…)

Chemical Plant Accident Statistic in December 2009

In December 2009, I noted a chemical plant accident in China, which caused 3 people died. The accident occurred when workers were handling carbon black.

Another accident that grabbed my attention was toxic gas leak (hydrogen sulfide, H2S) that caused 1 engineer died at Thai Rayon Public Co. Limited, Thailand.

To read more accidents that happened in December 2009, please click the following links. (more…)

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