The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

ATSB Hot Work Safety Video

Graham Marshall - Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is urging all maritime workers and boat owners to watch a short online safety video that features an accident involving a crew member on board a ship who was tragically killed by an explosion while cutting a used 200 litre drum with an angle grinder.

The ATSB has investigated several accidents involving "hot-work" cutting of used fuel drums in the marine industry.

In all cases, the  accidents could have been prevented if the workers had just given some time to think about the hazards involved and followed proper "hot-work" procedures.

The video provides a powerful reminder to all seafarers of the need to take make sure that hazards involved in "hot-work" are appropriately managed.

To view the video, click this link.

Deadly Contract - New CSB Video

Graham Marshall - Sunday, February 24, 2013

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has recently released a new safety video entitled “Deadly Contract” which highlights how an explosion and fire that killed five workers during a fireworks disposal operation in Hawaii in 2011 resulted from unsafe disposal practices; insufficient safety requirements for government contractor selection and oversight; and an absence of national guidelines, standards, and regulations for fireworks disposal.

The CSB is also calling for new regulations on the safe disposal of government-confiscated illegally labeled fireworks - a growing problem across the U.S.

The  accident occurred in April 2011, as employees of Donaldson Enterprises, Inc. (DEI) worked in a tunnel-like magazine located in Waipahu, Hawaii.

The storage facility contained government-confiscated illegally labeled fireworks, which the workers had been dismantling under a subcontract to a federal prime contract.

The CSB determined there was an accumulation of a large quantity of explosive components just inside the magazine entrance, creating the essential elements for a mass explosion.

A large explosion and fire fatally injured all five workers inside the magazine.

Another worker, who had been standing outside the magazine entrance door, escaped with injuries.

The CSB investigation found that company personnel had no specific expertise in fireworks disposal, that the company’s procedures were extremely unsafe, and that there are no national standards or accepted good practices for disposing of fireworks.

DEI was awarded the subcontract from a Federal Agency because it was a local company already storing the seized fireworks in the hillside facility, and its proposal was the lowest in cost and considered the most time-efficient.

However, despite DEI’s military ordnance background, the company had no experience with fireworks disposal.

DEI improvised a disposal plan that called for soaking the fireworks in diesel fuel and then burning them at a local shooting range

However, some fireworks were not burning, but exploding.

The company concluded that the diesel was not sufficiently penetrating the aerial shells and thus altered the procedure, disassembling the individual firework tubes and cutting slits in the aerial shells so the diesel could soak into the shells to reduce the explosion hazard during burning.

The process was further altered to speed up destruction of the next batch of confiscated fireworks in early 2011.

Workers were told to separate the black powder from the shells, accumulating them in separate boxes and dramatically increasing the explosion hazard, the CSB found.

The investigation found the company did not adequately analyze the potential hazards created by making these changes to the disposal plan.

Good process safety practice would have called for a thorough hazard analysis as well as a comprehensive review of the potential safety impacts of the proposed change.

CSB Wins Awards for Safety Videos

Graham Marshall - Saturday, January 05, 2013

Congratulations go to the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) which was has received three Awards from the Television, Internet and Video Association (TIVA) for safety videos produced in 2012. TIVA is a Washington-based organization of media production professionals.

CSB safety videos are documentary style narratives on specific accidents based on CSB investigation findings.

They typically include computer-generated simulations that depict deadly sequences of events, and include commentary by investigators and CSB board members.

The winning videos are:

 Hot Work: Hidden Hazards (Bronze Award) – 2 contractors were performing welding a top a 10,000 gallon slurry tank at a DuPont chemical facility near Buffalo, New York, when hot sparks ignited flammable vapors inside the tank, causing an explosion that killed one of the men and seriously injured another.

 Experimenting with Danger (Bronze Award) – A laboratory worker performing an experiment for an energetic materials project at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, was severely injured in an explosion. The video highlights two other academic lab accidents, one at UCLA and the other at Dartmouth College.

 Iron in the Fire (Silver Award) – Three combustible dust flash fires over a six month period occurred at the Hoeganaes Corporation powdered-iron facility in Gallatin, Tennessee, 20 miles outside of Nashville, resulting in fatal injuries to five workers.

To date, the CSB has produced 29 safety videos.

The CSB’s safety videos received numerous other awards, including three TIVA Peer Awards in 2011.

In 2010, the CSB received two CINE Golden Eagle Awards, one for a video on the rural oil tank storage facilities and teenage deaths entitled, “No Place to Hang Out,” and the other for “Dangers of Hot Work,” which reported on fatal accidents caused by the ignition of flammable vapor during welding, cutting and grinding activities at chemical and other facilities, for which the recently-awarded “Hot Work: Hidden Hazards” was a sequel.

Other CSB video awards include:

 May 2010 - 2010 European Process Safety Centre (EPSC) Award for the CSB Safety Video series;

 August 2009 - MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) award for “Half an Hour to Tragedy”;

 November 2009 - TIVA Peer award (bronze) for “Half an Hour to Tragedy”.

The agency’s video program was specifically cited when the CSB was named the 2008 recipient of the American ChemicalSociety’s (ACS) Howard Fawcett Award, honoring “outstanding contributions in the field of chemical health and safety.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents.

The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.


Korean Hydrofluoric Acid Accident

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, November 06, 2012

There have been plenty of incidents recently where fire officers responding to fire’s have poorly positioned fire apparatus resulting in loss of the fire trucks and in some cases loss of life.

But toxic gas releases can be just as deadly - as highlighted by the CCTV footage shown below.

To watch the footage, click here

The incident shows how anhydrous hydrofluoric acid (HF) was released from the liquid valve as two workers were on top of a truck mounted tank preparing to connect the ISO Tank for offloading.

They accidently fully opened the quarter turn valve.

About eight tons of HF was released into the atmosphere.

Five people including the two workers on top of the ISO tank perished.  two Another two workers at ground level for pump repair and one officer at an office building close to tank lorry also died.

Eighteen emergency responders, workers, and a news reporter ended-up in the hospital, and almost 3,000 villagers from two villages downwind of the facility were treated for irritation and exposure.
Some pre-report key issues in my mind are:
1.      Both workers had no chemical protective clothing or SCBA;

2.      Emergency response equipment/systems to mitigate the leak were inadequate;

3.      Emergency Responders were not aware of the treatment for HF;

4.      Calcium Gluconate was not readily available; and

5.      Valving on the ISO should be reviewed.
This has been reported to be the worst chemical accident in Korean history.

Fire engulfs fire engine

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This image and the accompanying video show a dramatic fire that "outran the sprinklers" at a chemical plant in Waxahachie, Texas.

The fire at the Magnablend Plant started when chemicals that were being mixed caught fire, officials said.

Witnesses reported hearing repeated explosions from the plant, which is about 70 kms from Fort Worth.

The building where the fire started had sprinklers, "but the fire outran the sprinklers," Waxahachie Fire Chief David Hudgins said.

Firefighters from Waxahachie and surrounding cities, including DeSoto, Red Oak, Ennis and Midlothian, fought the blaze.

"We were the fifth company to arrive, and the flames were shooting 150 to 200 feet in the air," Red Oak firefighter Brandon Nichols said.

Early in the firefighting, a tank released a flood of some kind of flammable liquid that spread flames faster, Hudgins said.

About two hours after they began fighting the fire, Hudgins said he thought they were getting it under control."Then there was another release of liquid," he said.The flames spread so fast that they ran under and engulfed an Ennis firetruck before it could be moved.

Those flames also threatened several nearby railcar tankers where chemicals were stored, Hudgins said.

Two Magnablend employees sustained minor injuries but no firefighters were hurt in the incident.

Dramatic Fire Fighter Video

Graham Marshall - Saturday, November 12, 2011

We all know what a fantastic job the fire fighter's perform...just to confirm...check this video of a car fire in Los Angeles.  Just click here.


Crazy train track therapy

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, August 30, 2011
A new health craze is sweeping through Jakarta in Indonesia in which poverty-stricken people are lying across train tracks in the mistaken belief that electricity supposedly in the rails will cure them of a range of afflictions.

In fact, the train tracks carry no electrical current and the people are more likely to be killed if they get hit by a train.

The crazy behaviour is supposed to have started when word spread about a sick ethnic Chinese man who attempted to commit suicide on the tracks but was "miraculously" cured instead.

Authorities in Indonesia are currently trying to stamp out this crazy behaviour.

To view a video of the train-track craze, simply click here.


Safety moment - remember to buckle up!

Graham Marshall - Friday, August 26, 2011
Funny!  Click here to view.

Safety moment - wear your seat belt

Graham Marshall - Thursday, August 25, 2011
A great little video and nice music that makes the point about wearing your seatbelt.

Make it a safety moment today.

To watch, simply click here.

Safety moment - please don't text

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Another short road safety video to share as a safety moment or in a tool-box talk.

It would be particularly useful for young female workers.

Simply click here to access the video.

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