Issue Date: May 28, 2012
CSB To Investigate Arkansas Accident
The Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) deployed a four-member team to El Dorado, Ark., last week to investigate an explosion and fire that killed three workers. The accident occurred on May 21 at an oil tank site operated by Long Brothers Oil Co. CSB says preliminary information indicates employees were doing “hot work” such as burning, cutting, and welding. Jerry Thomas, director of emergency planning for Union County, Ark., tells C&EN that the men were working on an oil tank that was considered empty although it held 12–14 inches of sludge. Emergency responders suspect that use of a chop saw ignited hydrocarbon vapors in the tank, Thomas says. Hot work is a growing concern for CSB, notes Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso. Recently, the board produced a safety bulletin and safety video warning of the hazards of welding or cutting around pipes and tanks that have not been monitored or tested to determine whether they contain flammable hydrocarbons. The board has investigated some dozen fatal hot work accidents over the past decade (C&EN, April 30, page 31).
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