Accident Description

Accident: DuPont Belle Toxic Chemical Releases

Location: Location: Belle, WV

Accident Occurred On: 01/23/2010 | Final Report Released On: 09/20/2011

Accident Type: Release

Investigation Status: The CSB's final report was approved on September 20, 2011.

On January 23, there was a release of highly toxic phosgene, exposing a veteran operator at the DuPont facility in Belle, West Virginia and resulting in his death one day later. DuPont officials told the CSB that a braided steel hose connected to a one-ton capacity phosgene tank suddenly ruptured, releasing phosgene into the air. An operator who was exposed to the chemical was transported to the hospital, where he died the following day. The phosgene release followed two other accidents at the same plant in the same week, including an ongoing release of chloromethane from the plant’s F3455 unit, which went undetected for several days, and a release from a spent sulfuric acid unit. The plant announced over the weekend that it would be shutting down a number of process units immediately for safety checks. The CSB is also investiating a November 2010 accident at the Dupont facility outside Buffalo, NY, that fatally injured one worker.