Washington, DC, September 22, 2009 – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released a new nine-minute computer animated safety video depicting a tragic reactive chemical accident that devastated T2 Laboratories in Jacksonville, Florida.
Entitled “Runaway: Explosion at T2 Laboratories,” the video details the December 19, 2007, accident involving a thermal runaway chemical reaction at a small chemical manufacturer. The video includes a 3-D computer animation of the sequence of events leading to the runaway reaction and resulting explosion and fire.
T2 Laboratories was attempting to produce a batch of the gasoline additive MCMT when the reactor cooling system apparently malfunctioned – perhaps due to a blockage in the water supply piping or a valve failure. As the video shows, the temperature of the material in the reactor rose uncontrollably. The rupture disk burst on the reactor, but it was too late to relieve the pressure and the entire vessel blew apart, killing four workers including one of the company’s two owners. Four other T2 employees and 28 workers at nearby businesses were also injured.
The CSB’s final report on the accident was approved at a public meeting in Jacksonville on September 15; the Board recommended increased education of undergraduate chemical engineers on reactive chemistry hazards. CSB Safety Videos were recently recognized by the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) organization, which presented its first-ever FireSafety Editorial Board Classics Award to the CSB.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov
For more information, contact Director of Public Affairs Dr. Daniel Horowitz, 202-261-7613, cell 202-441-6074.