Accident: First Chemical Corp. Reactive Chemical Explosion
Location: Location: Pascgoula, MS
Accident Occurred On: 10/13/2002 | Final Report Released On: 10/15/2003
Accident Type: Reactive Incident
Investigation Status: The final CSB report on this investigation was approved at a Board public meeting in Pascagoula on October 15, 2003.
On October 13, 2002, a violent explosion occurred in a chemical distillation tower at First Chemical Corporation in Pascagoula, Mississippi, sending heavy debris over a wide area. Three workers in the control room were injured by shattered glass. One nitrotoluene storage tank at the site was punctured by explosion debris, igniting a fire that burned for several hours.
Amend the Technical Specifications guidelines in the Responsible Care Management System to explicitly require facilities to identify findings and lessons learned from process hazard analyses and incident investigations in one unit and apply them to other equipment that processes similar material.
Ensure that ACC members understand the audit requirements of
Responsible Care and accurately identify and address gaps in
facility process safety programs.
Communicate the findings of this report to your membership.
Establish a program for conducting process hazard analyses of
processes involving reactive materials.
Evaluate the need for layers of protection and install appropriate
safeguards, such as alarms and interlocks, to reduce the likelihood of a runaway reaction and catastrophic release of material.
Review and revise as necessary procedures for units that process highly energetic material, effectively communicate the updated procedures, and train workers appropriately. Revised procedures should include: Specific steps for isolation of energy sources. Warnings and cautions concerning process chemicals and consequences of deviations from operating limits. Critical operating limits and guidance when the limits are exceeded. Instruction on how to perform a shutdown for all foreseeable causes, to ensure proper isolation, and to continue monitoring critical parameters (such as temperature) while the column is shut down; in addition, review conditions under which material must be deinventoried (such as during extended shutdowns).
Conduct a facility-wide survey of pressure vessels to ensure that all equipment that processes reactive materials has appropriate
Identify equipment critical to safe operation of processes containing reactive materials. Upgrade the maintenance program and establish inspection schedules to ensure the integrity of such equipment.
Survey and take appropriate action to ensure that buildings occupied by plant personnel are of adequate construction and are located so as to protect people inside in the event of an explosion in equipment processing reactive materials.
Conduct audits to ensure that the First Chemical Pascagoula facility addresses the issues detailed below. Communicate results of these audits to the workforce.
Update the community notification system to: Immediately alert residents in the Moss Point community when an incident occurs that could affect their health and safety. Determine when a community response should be initiated. Communicate the nature of the incident and the appropriate response by residents. Alert residents when the incident is over (i.e., the all-clear has sounded).
Conduct an awareness campaign to educate residents on the proper steps for a shelter-in-place and orderly evacuation.
Amend the Technical Specifications in the Responsible Care Management System to explicitly require facilities to identify findings and lessons learned from process hazard analyses and incident investigations in one unit and apply them to other equipment that processes similar material.
Ensure that SOCMA members understand the audit requirements of Responsible Care and accurately identify and address gaps in facility process safety programs.