Investigation blames management for Texas plant explosion
Management failures. It’s what the federal Chemical Safety Board says caused the 2018 Ethylene Release and Fire at the Kuraray America plant in Pasadena, Texas—a blast that injured 23 workers.
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board released its final investigation report this week, concluding the cause was Kuraray’s emergency pressure relief system design.
“If Kuraray’s emergency pressure relief system had been designed to discharge the vapor to a safe location, the flammable ethylene gas should not have harmed any workers,” stated the report. The investigation found that vapors were released into an area where workers were welding.
Steve Owens with the Board declared, “Kuraray could have prevented the injuries to these workers by ensuring that the flammable ethylene gas discharged from its system was directed to a safe location. Kuraray also should have evacuated these workers from the area when the reactor’s high-pressure alarm sounded, since it was signaling a serious problem with the reactor.”
The emergency pressure relief system discharge design is just one of the 17 safety issues identified by the CSB in the report.
Among the 23 workers injured during the incident, two were life-flighted from the facility, one of whom remained in critical condition for several days because of burn injuries. As many as 19 others were transported to the hospital by emergency responders for various injuries.