Fatal La. gas explosion results in PSM citations
Workers mixed hot quench water with propylene
An explosion in June at a Louisiana gas company that killed two workers and injured 80 people has resulted in $99,000 in fines for the company.
Williams Olefins LLC in Geismar, La. was cited for six process safety management standard violations, including one willful. Process safety management encompasses a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards proactively that are associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, it was the use of propylene.
A willful violation was cited for failing to develop clear, written procedures for how to change and put idle pressure vessels into service. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The five serious violations include inadvertently mixing hot quench water with propylene; failing to provide appropriate pressure protection for a pressure vessel; complete a process hazard analysis to address the opening of hot quench water flow into a pressure vessel; properly document workplace training; and promptly correct deficiencies related to process safety management discovered by an internal compliance audit team.
Williams Olefins is a subsidiary of Williams Partners LP, which is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., and employs about 4,700 workers corporatewide. The Geismar location employs about 127 workers and specializes in the production of natural gas, ethylene and propylene.
Proposed penalties total $99,000.