Issue Date: February 7, 2011
Multiple Errors Led To Goodyear Blast
A maintenance mix-up led to a deadly accident at the Houston plant of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, where a worker lay fatally injured and unnoticed for nearly six hours, according to a recently issued Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board case study. The 2008 explosion was due to overpressurization of a heat exchanger. During maintenance operations, several valves had been inadvertently closed, blocking access to automatic pressure-control relief valves. When pressurized steam was introduced to the pipes during a cleaning operation, the exchanger ruptured. A worker who happened to be nearby was hit with debris and fatally injured, but because of an inadequate employee tracking system as well as poor emergency response training, the employee went unnoticed during a plantwide evacuation. The worker, covered in rubble, was found by a supervisor assessing the accident area. Another six workers were injured. The board’s study notes that no accident training or evacuation drills had been held at the plant for several years and recommends several changes in maintenance procedures and in emergency response.
- Chemical & Engineering News
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