Chemical Safety Board Releases Final Report and Video on West Fertilizer

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a final report and a video on their findings regarding the explosion at West Fertilizer in April 2013.  Their findings are interesting and the video provides an animation of the event as it occurred.  We encourage our members to take 12 minutes of your day to watch the video.  Among the CSB findings are that communities establish zoning to keep houses, businesses, schools and institutions from building next to a fertilizer plant (what we refer to as reverse setbacks).  They also recommend that ammonium nitrate be added to the list of chemicals regulated by the USEPA Risk Management Plan and OSHA Process Safety Management.  Finally, they recommend additional training of fire departments, particularly volunteer fire departments, to ensure they are aware of the hazards associated with this and other types of facilities that store hazardous materials.  It is interesting to note that in the nearly 3 years since the West incident, the government has only taken action to further regulate retail anhydrous ammonia--a product that was not implicated in the West explosion.  In the video CSB references the fact that the employees of West Fertilizer, and the local emergency responders, were much more knowledgeable about the properties of ammonia and how to respond to an emergency vs. the properties of ammonium nitrate or its hazards. IFCA encourages our members to invite your local fire departments to your facilities periodically to conduct a walk through, discuss emergency preparedness and establish a close working relationship to ensure the safety of your employees, the responders and the public.  To view the CSB video, click here.