Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Woodruff on Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:38 pm

Lootifer wrote:The thing is Ammonium Nitrate nor Gaseous Ammonia doesnt just blow up when you drop a little bit of ash on it (in fact Ammonium Nitrate is an oxidant, it wont combust without a fuel source). In each and every one of these cases its not simply a matter of one person making a dodgy decision.

Anyone who has worked on an industrial site will tell you that if that is the case then there would be daily explosions; people make dodgy safety decisions every day.

What will almost certainly have happened here (because its the one common theme in every industrial disaster) is a series of safety failures; there is only one entity to blame here: the business who owns the plant*.

* if it turns out that one single badly behaved person managed to line up every single failure; or the plant actually complied with every OSHA recommendation and/or regulation; then of course I would be ok with you levelling the blame on those entities BBS. Would you care to take a wager on this?


As I understand it, the required state inspections did not take place. So if that is true, then the state agency is somewhat responsible, though not as much as the business itself certainly.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:11 pm

Lootifer wrote:The thing is Ammonium Nitrate nor Gaseous Ammonia doesnt just blow up when you drop a little bit of ash on it (in fact Ammonium Nitrate is an oxidant, it wont combust without a fuel source). In each and every one of these cases its not simply a matter of one person making a dodgy decision.

Anyone who has worked on an industrial site will tell you that if that is the case then there would be daily explosions; people make dodgy safety decisions every day.

What will almost certainly have happened here (because its the one common theme in every industrial disaster) is a series of safety failures; there is only one entity to blame here: the business who owns the plant*.

* if it turns out that one single badly behaved person managed to line up every single failure; or the plant actually complied with every OSHA recommendation and/or regulation; then of course I would be ok with you levelling the blame on those entities BBS. Would you care to take a wager on this?


The government agencies will always be to blame. Not only do they exclude potential competitors from providing similar services (fundamental problem A), they can also be incompetent at their job since (1) there's no threat of competition, (2) there's no threat of bankruptcy (money taken from taxpayers--not on a voluntary basis through profit), (3) state-mandated exemptions/privileges (e.g. becoming impervious to lawsuits--like the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans post-Katrina, or capping BP @ $80 billion or so in legal payments (I forget the technical term).

Those are fundamental issues, i.e. systemic issues, and they're the ones I'm concerned about--to be clear ITT.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Juan_Bottom on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:21 pm

None of those are true, you guys. BBS is talking out of his ass.

I actually work in a factory. All of our chemicals come from DuPont and AFCO labs, and they both have fierce competition, especially since the economic downturn. Yet these are companies with strong American roots and proprietary compounds, AND they're specialty chemical manufacturers. We're not talking fertilizer, we're talking "this Chlorine will target X pathogen best, this acid will leave a safe residue that protects food-grade stainless steel the best." In fact, we just switched to AFCO labs two years ago from another American source.
When it comes to the global market, other countries like Indonesia and Brazil are starting to push us out.

Every business that we sell to has their own inspectors that come through our facility. Wal*Mart has a global standardized safety evaluation, and they hire an impartial third party to carry out the inspections. OSHA will do a free safety inspection with no consequences for violations if you ask them to. The State Government will have their own inspectors as well. Plus there are several third party companies that you can hire to do safety checks. As we've all said before, when bad stuff like this happens it's a pretty safe bet that it was an internal problem.

The Army Core of Engineers is not a for-profit business, it's a public entity. They were not hired by New Orleans to build the levees. And apparently, according to your own link, the Army Core of Engineers has had "immunity" since 1928. Though I guess they were held responsible elsewhere. And while the Army Core of Engineers couldn't be sued for the deteriorated levees, the government it belongs to did appropriate $125 billion dollars for Katrina relief. Obama added something like another $2 billion, and smoothed out parts of the disbursement system. But a lot of that money is going to long-term rebuilding projects, and not to free blank checks.


If you want to talk about the new business practices of paying cheap fines or lawsuits instead of following the law, stealing worker benefits, and general business douchebagery, that's a different discussion than saying there's no competition for fertilizer, the government doesn't allow companies to be safe, and the Army Core of Engineers is a criminal organization. That's all just angry fantasy talk.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:43 pm

I'm glad you're still capable of inventing 'evidence' in order to fit your ideology. Crams in nicely, doesn't it, Phat_Bottom?
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Night Strike on Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:56 pm

There was a fire at the plant before the explosion took place. The vessels containing the explosive compounds have regulator valves that are designed to release compound from the vessel in the event its pressure rises due to atmospheric heat. Those releases are what led to the odor citation the plant had previously received. The most likely scenario is that the regulators could not keep up with the rise in pressure caused by the fire, so the vessel exploded.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Lootifer on Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:56 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:The government agencies will always be to blame. Not only do they exclude potential competitors from providing similar services (fundamental problem A), they can also be incompetent at their job since (1) there's no threat of competition, (2) there's no threat of bankruptcy (money taken from taxpayers--not on a voluntary basis through profit), (3) state-mandated exemptions/privileges (e.g. becoming impervious to lawsuits--like the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans post-Katrina, or capping BP @ $80 billion or so in legal payments (I forget the technical term).

Those are fundamental issues, i.e. systemic issues, and they're the ones I'm concerned about--to be clear ITT.

Systemically any standards entity (public or private) will bear some blame in a disaster (I didnt include it in my original post on blame because its a small and constant fraction of the blame - apologies for the ommission). So not sure what kind of point you are making by saying "government agencies" will always be to blame.

And sure sure you suffer from some inefficiencies due to lack of competition. But this is pretty small considering there is no real knowledge problem in the safety standards area. Safety technology/practices are A.) absolute (best practice can be explicitly defined and measured by not killing anyone), B.) is mostly technology agnostic and C.) where it is not technology agnostic it essentially leaches off other technologies/practices and therefore does not require competitive forces to work towards best practice at a detailed design level.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Juan_Bottom on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:12 am

Texan Business Advertisement wrote:Building a business is tough, but I hear that building a business in California is next to impossible. This is Texas governor Rick Perry, and I’ve got a message for California businesses. Come check out Texas. There are plenty of reasons Texas has been named the best state for doing business for eight years running. Visit TexasWideOpenForBusiness.Com, and see why our low taxes, sensible regulation, and fair legal system are just the thing to get your business moving … to Texas.


http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/04/29 ... on-videos/

lolololol
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Woodruff on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:42 am

Juan_Bottom wrote:
Texan Business Advertisement wrote:Building a business is tough, but I hear that building a business in California is next to impossible. This is Texas governor Rick Perry, and I’ve got a message for California businesses. Come check out Texas. There are plenty of reasons Texas has been named the best state for doing business for eight years running. Visit TexasWideOpenForBusiness.Com, and see why our low taxes, sensible regulation, and fair legal system are just the thing to get your business moving … to Texas.


http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/04/29 ... on-videos/
lolololol


This is one of the very few things Perry has done that I don't have too much problem with, to be honest. He's just advertising for his state, and that's something he should be doing, to be honest.

I absolutely deplore some of his fiscal choices for his state, and some of the deregulation that has taken place there, but this isn't a big deal to me.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Night Strike on Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:42 am

Woodruff wrote:
Juan_Bottom wrote:
Texan Business Advertisement wrote:Building a business is tough, but I hear that building a business in California is next to impossible. This is Texas governor Rick Perry, and I’ve got a message for California businesses. Come check out Texas. There are plenty of reasons Texas has been named the best state for doing business for eight years running. Visit TexasWideOpenForBusiness.Com, and see why our low taxes, sensible regulation, and fair legal system are just the thing to get your business moving … to Texas.


http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/04/29 ... on-videos/
lolololol


This is one of the very few things Perry has done that I don't have too much problem with, to be honest. He's just advertising for his state, and that's something he should be doing, to be honest.

I absolutely deplore some of his fiscal choices for his state, and some of the deregulation that has taken place there, but this isn't a big deal to me.


*Waits for player to come by and denounce states competing against each other for businesses.*
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Symmetry on Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:57 am

Plus his execution of an innocent man, and subsequent cover up.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Timminz on Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:10 am

Juan_Bottom wrote:...mixing 5 gallons of straight acid with 10 gallons of chlorine (deadly mustard gas) ...


While it doesn't change the point you're making, technically that moron was making chlorine gas, which is a different compound from mustard gas.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby notyou2 on Wed May 01, 2013 8:40 pm

Timminz wrote:
Juan_Bottom wrote:...mixing 5 gallons of straight acid with 10 gallons of chlorine (deadly mustard gas) ...


While it doesn't change the point you're making, technically that moron was making chlorine gas, which is a different compound from mustard gas.



And probably even more deadly.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Juan_Bottom on Wed May 01, 2013 11:44 pm

Holy crap.
This whole time I thought that Mustard Gas was made from Chlorine, and nobody at the plant has ever corrected me. I soooo did not believe you and I googled it... I apologize for not trusting you. It will never happen again. :(

I just can't believe no one told me before.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Timminz on Thu May 02, 2013 8:55 am

Juan_Bottom wrote:Holy crap.
This whole time I thought that Mustard Gas was made from Chlorine, and nobody at the plant has ever corrected me. I soooo did not believe you and I googled it... I apologize for not trusting you. It will never happen again. :(

I just can't believe no one told me before.


Don't feel too bad about it. They were both brought into "popularity" by the Germans, during World War I.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby oVo on Thu May 02, 2013 1:16 pm

Woodruff wrote:As I understand it, the required state inspections did not take place.

Texas investigative reports claim that this site was inspected and in compliance. This plant was once a chemical company, but is basically a farmers co-op for fertilizer in the region these days. The ammonia nitrate (or whatever it was) in the tank was reported to be a stable material as a liquid --while chilled-- but heated by the fire became an expanding volatile gas.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Symmetry on Thu May 02, 2013 1:45 pm

oVo wrote:
Woodruff wrote:As I understand it, the required state inspections did not take place.

Texas investigative reports claim that this site was inspected and in compliance. This plant was once a chemical company, but is basically a farmers co-op for fertilizer in the region these days. The ammonia nitrate (or whatever it was) in the tank was reported to be a stable material as a liquid --while chilled-- but heated by the fire became an expanding volatile gas.


The tragic explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant April 17 is the most recent manifestation of a badly debilitated system of regulatory protections.

Related stories

Why did West, Texas, build homes and a school next to a 'time bomb'?
United in adversity: West, Texas, prays for Boston, which sends pizzas to West
To boost the economy, burst the regulatory bubble

Although the cause of the blast is still undetermined, what is clear is that the West Fertilizer Company stored large quantities of highly reactive products, including anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate, in the middle of a small town with very little oversight from state or federal agencies. Ammonium nitrate was used by the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 1995, killing 168 people. The West, Texas, explosion killed 14, and injured nearly 200.

ANOTHER VIEW: To boost the economy, burst the regulatory bubble

Texas does not have an occupational safety and health program that meets federal requirements. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is therefore responsible for ensuring the safety of potentially dangerous workplaces like the West facility.

OSHA has inspected the West plant exactly once in the company’s 51-year history. That 1985 inspection detected multiple “serious” violations of federal safety requirements for which the company paid a grand total of $30 in fines. OSHA’s 1992 process-safety-management standard for highly hazardous chemicals is supposed to protect against disasters like the West explosion, but it wasn’t in place for that inspection.

Regardless, OSHA lacks the resources to undertake the kind of comprehensive inspection needed to ensure compliance with the process safety standard at small facilities like West Fertilizer Company. OSHA’s tiny staff of around 2,400 inspectors is spread so thin that it would take more than 90 years to conduct even cursory inspections of all eligible workplaces in Texas.


http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/0429/Smoking-gun-in-West-Texas-fertilizer-blast-lack-of-government-oversight
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Lootifer on Thu May 02, 2013 4:46 pm

Firstly god I hate media when they link some unrelated event to try and sound knowledgable. Yes the Oklahoma City bomber used Ammonium Nitrate; but you have to realise that Ammonium Nirtate in his was bomb was essentially a replacement for Oxygen, it is not a fuel (reducing agent or reductant in chemistry speak) - it will not combust (though it can still cause a pressure explosion like anything) without the presence of a large amount of energy and a ready supply of fuel...

But more to the point (and the good bit in the article) is the crazy lack of safety culture that appears to be present in Texas. Sure OHSA is not doing a good job, but as they point out that is 100% due to not having the resources to operate. However that is neither here nor there; Texas really seems to have a fundamentally cultural problem with regards to safety. Even with a shitty OHSA over the top businesses should be self-regulating to a certain extent, and there seems to be no evidence of that happening (i.e. businesses will attract more and happier - thus more productive - workers if they have a record of not maiming and killing them).
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Woodruff on Thu May 02, 2013 4:48 pm

oVo wrote:
Woodruff wrote:As I understand it, the required state inspections did not take place.

Texas investigative reports claim that this site was inspected and in compliance. This plant was once a chemical company, but is basically a farmers co-op for fertilizer in the region these days. The ammonia nitrate (or whatever it was) in the tank was reported to be a stable material as a liquid --while chilled-- but heated by the fire became an expanding volatile gas.


Interesting...what I saw said it hadn't been inspected since 2006. I have no idea of the source though, so take that with a grain of salt.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Woodruff on Thu May 02, 2013 4:49 pm

Lootifer wrote:Firstly god I hate media when they link some unrelated event to try and sound knowledgable. Yes the Oklahoma City bomber used Ammonium Nitrate; but you have to realise that Ammonium Nirtate in his was was essentially a replacement for Oxygen, it is not a fuel (reducing agent or reductant in chemistry speak) - it will not combust (though it can still cause a pressure explosion like anything) without the presence of a large amount of energy and a ready supply of fuel...

But more to the point (and the good bit in the article) is the crazy lack of safety culture that appears to be present in Texas. Sure OHSA is not doing a good job, but as they point out that is 100% due to not having the resources to operate. However that is neither here nor there; Texas really seems to have a fundamentally cultural problem with regards to safety. Even with a shitty OHSA over the top businesses should be self-regulating to a certain extent, and there seems to be no evidence of that happening (i.e. businesses will attract more and happier - thus more productive - workers if they have a record of not maiming and killing them).


If you can't handle a little maiming, you're just not tough enough to be a Texan.

(This sounds like something my mother-in-law would say.)
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby BigBallinStalin on Thu May 02, 2013 6:07 pm

Lootifer wrote:Firstly god I hate media when they link some unrelated event to try and sound knowledgable. Yes the Oklahoma City bomber used Ammonium Nitrate; but you have to realise that Ammonium Nirtate in his was bomb was essentially a replacement for Oxygen, it is not a fuel (reducing agent or reductant in chemistry speak) - it will not combust (though it can still cause a pressure explosion like anything) without the presence of a large amount of energy and a ready supply of fuel...

But more to the point (and the good bit in the article) is the crazy lack of safety culture that appears to be present in Texas. Sure OHSA is not doing a good job, but as they point out that is 100% due to not having the resources to operate. However that is neither here nor there; Texas really seems to have a fundamentally cultural problem with regards to safety. Even with a shitty OHSA over the top businesses should be self-regulating to a certain extent, and there seems to be no evidence of that happening (i.e. businesses will attract more and happier - thus more productive - workers if they have a record of not maiming and killing them).


Everything's bigger in Texas: negligent explosions at work.

Are you trying to tell Texans what to do? It's the Ranger State. Tough as nails.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Lootifer on Thu May 02, 2013 6:36 pm

Nope, texans can do what they like. I will however call them very stupid (assuming my analysis of their safety culture is correct).
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Juan_Bottom on Thu May 02, 2013 9:09 pm

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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Woodruff on Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:18 am

You know...it occurs to me that if foreigners had caused this explosion, war would have been declared. America would have moved heaven and earth to find the perpetrators. But if regulatory corner cutting does it, then it's the cost of doing business cheaply, and so move along citizen, there is nothing to see here.

Perhaps to be truly effective terrorists, they should just become shitty businessmen.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby BigBallinStalin on Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:04 pm

Woodruff wrote:You know...it occurs to me that if foreigners had caused this explosion, war would have been declared. America would have moved heaven and earth to find the perpetrators. But if regulatory corner cutting does it, then it's the cost of doing business cheaply, and so move along citizen, there is nothing to see here.

Perhaps to be truly effective terrorists, they should just become shitty businessmen.


lol, or shitty bureaucrats, or shitty politicians--who excel only in getting reelected.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby notyou2 on Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:04 pm

The Quebec explosion was WAAAYYY bigger.
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