And once again we have a chemical plant on fire. Williams Chemical Co., in Geismar, Louisiana, blew up yesterday, killing one worker and sending over 70 to hospitals. There are reports that OSHA had not inspected the plant since 1993.
We have to ask ourselves, how deep is our commitment to safety in the process industries? You'd think we could go a week without a serious incident, but that hasn't happened in years. In fact the incidents just get worse, and more common. And the usual cause is poor maintenance, operator error, or a combination of the two. Calling these things boom factories does not relieve us of the responsibility to do whatever it takes to make sure that those two causes of plant accidents are eliminated.
So when are we going to start?
This is a YouTube video of the explosion at Williams Chemical. Reports that the fire was fueled by propylene have not been substantiated, and the cause of the explosion is under investigation.