Arkema Chemical Plant Investigation Results in Weak CSB Recommendations

The Chemical Safety Board released its report on the Arkema chemical incident last week. You may recall that during the heavy rains in the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey last year, the Arkema chemical plant was flooded and lost all ability to control the temperature of reactive organic peroxides.  The company evacuated the plant and…

EPA Rescinds Obama Chemical Plant Protections; Puts Residents At Risk

Five years after a catastrophic ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas killed 15 persons, destroyed much of the city, and launched reforms in the way the federal government oversees the safety of the nation’s chemical facilities, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last week told us that he cares more about the concerns of the chemical industry…

Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Battle for Workplace Safety: Short Stuff

Michaels to Musk: Manage safety at Tesla and production will fall into line: Former OSHA head Dr. David Michaels has penned an article in the Financial Times calling on the safety-challenged automaker Tesla and its owner Elon Musk to learn the lessons of the safest companies. Musk has been plagued by production and safety problems, but…

Wisconsin Refinery Explosion Injures Workers, Causes Mass Evacuation

A huge explosion rocked the Husky Energy Oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin this morning, sending at least six workers to the hospital and causing the evacuation of schools, businesses and hospitals in a 78 square mile area around the refinery. One worker is apparently being treated for “serious blast injuries.” The explosion reportedly occurred in…

5th Anniversary of West Fertilizer Explosion: Lessons Learned and Not Learned

Five years ago tonight a fire broke out at the West Fertilizer company in West, Texas. Emergency responders rushed toward the facility which contained 40 to 60 tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate, but twenty minutes later a massive explosion ripped through the building killing 12 responders and three others, injuring 252 and damaging or destroying…

Nightmare Now Showing at Chemical Facility Near You

From my next screenplay….”The Day Before The Day After Tomorrow” Open Old film of an ominous fog spreading across the Indian city of Bhopal.  Sounds of coughing, screams, children crying. Caption: “Bhopal, India, December 2, 1984: An uncontrolled release of MIC from a Union Carbide Chemical plant kills thousands of sleeping residents.“ Cut to Helicopter…

Climate Change: They Can’t Handle the Truth!

When EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had the brilliant idea last year to convent a “Red-Team/Blue-Team” exercise to debate the science behind climate change, even climate change believers were skeptical.  We already do “Red-Team/Blue-Team” exercises. They’re called peer review.” Now it seems that even the White House — especially Chief of Staff John Kelly — want to…

Methylene Chloride Deaths: “All Preventable”

Methylene chloride kills. We wrote about 21-year old Kevin Hartley last June. He died last April 29 — Workers Memorial Day — while when he was overcome by methylene chloride while stripping a bath tub. Seventeen workers have died from over-exposure to methylene chloride between 2000 and 2015, and probably at least as many consumers.…