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Safety

Employee Killed At CF Industries Plant

Plant Safety: Fatal accident is second recently to befall a Louisiana chemical facility

by Alexander H. Tullo
June 17, 2013

For the second time in a matter of days, a fatal accident has occurred at a Louisiana chemical plant, this time at a CF Industries nitrogen fertilizer complex in Donaldsonville.

The incident occurred at 6:00 PM on Friday, June 14, in a part of the plant that had been shut down for maintenance. A distribution header ruptured during the off-loading of nitrogen, the company says.

One worker, Ronald (Rocky) Morris Jr., a 34-year veteran with the company, was killed. Four CF employees and three contractors were rushed to local hospitals. All but one, a CF employee in stable condition, were released.

The Donaldsonville plant has nearly 3 million metric tons per year of ammonia production capacity, as well as downstream urea and urea ammonium nitrate facilities. The company earlier announced that it will spend $2.1 billion to expand capacity for all three products by 2016.

The CF rupture happened only a day after an explosion at a Williams Cos. ethylene cracker in Geismar, La., killed two workers. Zachary Green, 29, an operator at the plant hired last October, died the day of the explosion. Another employee, 47-year-old Scott Thrower, a supervisor of operations for Williams, died the next day from his injuries.

In addition, 73 workers were sent to local hospitals.

A $400 million expansion of the Williams plant, meant to increase ethylene capacity at the site by 800 million lb per year, is expected to be completed later this year.

The U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board has sent an investigative team to Geismar to look into the cause of the Williams blast.

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