Two Plant Explosions in Louisiana Add to Growing List of Deadly Industrial Accidents in 2013
Accidents at industrial plants are occur all too often, even in facilities that do not deal with hazardous materials. But when explosive substances are added to the mix, accidents are more likely, and the results are often deadly. Fertilizer plants are hazardous environments because most fertilizers are highly explosive. Terrorists have used fertilizers to make bombs with disastrous results.
A fertilizer plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, some 60 miles northwest of New Orleans, was the site of an explosion on June 14, 2013. One worker died and seven were injured in the blast. The plant is owned by CF Industries Holdings Inc. The accident happened around 6 p.m. when a vessel full of nitrogen ruptured. This occurred in a section of the plant that had been closed for maintenance; this may have saved a number of lives. There was no chemical release or subsequent fire.
Local and federal agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with CF Industries, are investigating the incident.
Just days earlier, a chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana, mere miles away on the other side of the Mississippi River, was the site of another blast. That accident killed two workers and injured 77 more.
And on April 17, 2013, a West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion killed 14 and injured over 200 in the country’s most deadly industrial accident in years.
The vast majority of industrial accidents are preventable. It is the responsibility of everyone from workers to companies to local, state, and federal safety agencies to do everything possible to maintain safety in the nation’s industrial plants.