Accident: Bethlehem Steel Corporation Gas Condensate Fire
Location: Location: Chesterton, IN
Accident Occurred On: 02/02/2001 | Final Report Released On: 12/06/2001
Accident Type: Chemical Manufacturing - Fire and Explosion
Investigation Status: The final report on this investigation was approved on December 6, 2001.
On February 2, 2001, a fire occurred at Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Burns Harbor mill in Chesterton, Indiana. One Bethlehem Steel millwright and one contractor supervisor died. Four Bethlehem Steel millwrights were injured, one seriously. Workers were attempting to remove a slip blind and a cracked valve from a coke oven gas line leading to a decommissioned furnace. During removal of the valve, flammable liquid was released and ignited.
Communicate findings of this report to your membership.
Conduct periodic audits of work authorization, line and equipment opening, deadleg management programs, and decommissioning and demolition activities at your steelmaking facilities. Share findings with the workforce.
Revise the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for COG condensate to highlight the potential flammability hazard. Ensure that management at your steelmaking facilities trains employees and informs contractors with regard to the potential
presence of flammable liquids when working with or opening COG condensate piping and equipment.
Communicate findings of this report to the workforce and contractors at Bethlehem Steel's steelmaking facilities.
Implement a work authorization program that requires higher levels of management review, approval, and oversight for jobs that present higher levels of risk, such as opening lines potentially containing flammable liquids where there is no low point drain.
Monitor the accumulation and flammability of COG condensate throughout the mill. Address potentially hazardous changes in condensate accumulation rates and flammability.
Survey the mill for deadlegs and implement a program for resolving the hazards. Develop guidance for plant personnel on the risks of deadlegs and their prevention. Include deadlegs in plant winterization planning.
Provide drains at low points in piping to allow for the safe draining of potentially flammable material.
Ensure that Burns Harbor and contractor employees are trained with regard to the potential presence of flammable liquids when working with or opening COG or condensate piping and equipment.
Establish procedures to ensure that insulation is replaced when removed for maintenance.