Chemical Leak at Texas Plant Kills Two Workers
The event happened inside the facility in La Porte, Texas, about twenty-five miles southeast of Houston. All workers were ultimately accounted for. As of 7 PM on July 28, twenty-eight of the thirty employees sent to local hospitals had been released. Decontamination and cleanup (primarily of acetic acid) is underway.
The facility praised their on-site incident response team, saying that a quick response stopped the leak and prevented further injuries. Air monitoring shows "no levels of concern for the community,” according to Harris County Pollution Control and an update from the facility.
The following day, the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) deployed a team to the incident site. The CSB’s role is to investigate chemical facility incidents, identify root causes, and make recommendations for preventing them in the future.
The company that operates the facility provides periodic updates here.
What Happened?The cause of the incident is under investigation. The company hopes to learn what happened so they can take measures to prevent a similar incident in the future.
The chemicals involved in the incident were methyl iodide, hydrogen iodide, and methyl acetate, the facility says. The consequences of exposure to these substances range from skin and eye irritation to serious mental disorders, coma, and death.
The company said that about 100,000 pounds of a mixture containing acetic acid was released. Acetic acid is diluted in water to make white vinegar.
Emergency Response Takes a TeamWhen a hazardous substance is unexpectedly released, it takes a full team of properly trained, equipped personnel to stop the release and potentially save lives.
- Responders at the “first responder awareness” (FRA) level must know what to do if they witness or discover a hazardous substance release. These employees may alert others, sound alarms, and evacuate.
- First Responder Operations (FRO) personnel take defensive response actions like covering drains or closing vents, to prevent the release from spreading.
- Hazardous Materials Technicians, sometimes called hazmat techs or industry techs, take more “aggressive” response actions. These employees approach the point of a release to plug, patch or otherwise stop it.
- Hazardous Materials Specialists respond with technicians to stop the release. Specialists hold extensive knowledge about the chemicals on site, and act as a liaison with local emergency responders like fire and EMS.
- The Incident Commander oversees the entire emergency response scene.
HAZWOPER Training for Emergency RespondersUnder its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standard in 29 CFR 1910.120, OSHA requires training for every level of emergency responder—from awareness level to the incident commander.
Read more: Who Really Needs HAZWOPER Training?
To see who needs HAZWOPER training, how much training OSHA requires, and how often re-training is needed, view the graphic guides linked on Lion.com/HAZWOPER.
(Image credit: CNN.com)
Find a Post
My experience with Lion classes has always been good. Lion Technology always covers the EPA requirements I must follow.
This course went above my expectations from the moment I walked in the door. The instructor led us through two days packed with useful compliance information.
Excellent job. Made what is very dry material interesting. Thoroughly explained all topics in easy-to-understand terms.
Lion Technology workshops are amazing!! You always learn so much, and the instructors are fantastic.
The instructor clearly enjoys his job and transmits that enthusiasm. He made a dry subject very interesting and fun.
I like Lion's workshops the best because they really dig into the information you need to have when you leave the workshop.
Tom Bush, Jr.
Lion is at the top of the industry in compliance training. Course content and structure are updated frequently to make annual re-training enjoyable. I like that Lion has experts that I can contact for 1 year after the training.
Lion courses always set the bar for content, reference, and practical application. Membership and access to the experts is an added bonus.
John Brown, CSP
Director of Safety & Env Affairs
I have attended other training providers, but Lion is best. Lion is king of the hazmat jungle!!!
Hazardous Waste Technician
Excellent course. Very interactive. Explanations are great whether you get the questions wrong or right.
Environmental, Health & Safety Regional Manager
Download Our Latest Whitepaper
Decrease spill, release, and injury risk and increase savings with these "source reduction" strategies to prevent unused chemicals from becoming regulated as hazardous waste.