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Safety

Safety board faults MFG Chemical for vapor release

April 17, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 16

The U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) says that better process design, engineering, and hazard analysis would likely have prevented the 2004 runaway chemical reaction and vapor cloud release at MFG Chemical's plant in Dalton, Ga. More than 200 families were forced to evacuate their homes and 154 people had to be decontaminated and treated for chemical exposure at a local hospital after allyl alcohol and allyl chloride were released from a reactor at the MFG facility on April 12, 2004. CSB investigators found that the accident occurred when a runaway chemical reaction rapidly pressurized a 4,000-gal chemical reactor, activating an emergency vent and releasing allyl alcohol and allyl chloride directly into the atmosphere. "MFG did not adequately plan for scaling up the reaction from the laboratory to full production volume or evaluate how much heat the reaction would produce," says CSB investigator John Vorderbrueggen. "If MFG had followed the good engineering and safety practices described in federal regulations, this accident likely would not have occurred."

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