Safety and OSHA News

Company ignored near misses; blast killed four, injured 28

A government investigation says a chemical company failed to recognize a hazard associated with its manufacturing process even after a number of near-misses.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has found that the explosion and fire that killed four employees at T2 Laboratories in Jacksonville, FL, on Dec. 19, 2007, was caused by a runaway chemical reaction that likely resulted from an inadequate reactor cooling system.

The CSB report says T2 didn’t recognize all of the potential hazards of its manufacturing process.

The explosion was so powerful that 28 people working at nearby businesses were injured when building walls and windows blew in. The blast damaged buildings within a quarter-mile of the T2 facility.

Reactive chemical hazards are a major cause of workplace deaths and serious injuries. A previous CSB report identified 167 incidents over a two-decade period and made recommendations to improve reactive chemical safety.

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