Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

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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.

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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).
Last edited by Lootifer on Thu May 02, 2013 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Timminz on Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:26 am

notyou2 wrote:The Quebec explosion was WAAAYYY bigger.


The main difference being that the Quebec explosion was due to criminal negligence, while in Texas, that kind of negligence is perfectly legal.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Lootifer on Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:25 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
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.

But since democracy is so awesome, Im pretty sure that means that aforementioned politicians are actually awesome!

HOOREY!

(great logic though Woody, love your work).
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Night Strike on Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:37 pm

Timminz wrote:
notyou2 wrote:The Quebec explosion was WAAAYYY bigger.


The main difference being that the Quebec explosion was due to criminal negligence, while in Texas, that kind of negligence is perfectly legal.


Have there been any reports published saying willful negligence was involved in this case rather than just an accident?
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby notyou2 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:14 pm

Night Strike wrote:
Timminz wrote:
notyou2 wrote:The Quebec explosion was WAAAYYY bigger.


The main difference being that the Quebec explosion was due to criminal negligence, while in Texas, that kind of negligence is perfectly legal.


Have there been any reports published saying willful negligence was involved in this case rather than just an accident?


There are 2 investigations underway. One by the national transportation department and another by the police.

There is a strong likelihood it was an act of negligence, possibly willful negligence.
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Re: Major explosion at fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas.

Postby Lootifer on Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:23 pm

Night Strike wrote:
Timminz wrote:
notyou2 wrote:The Quebec explosion was WAAAYYY bigger.


The main difference being that the Quebec explosion was due to criminal negligence, while in Texas, that kind of negligence is perfectly legal.


Have there been any reports published saying willful negligence was involved in this case rather than just an accident?

Show me an industrial accident that occured at a plant where they had a high standard* of safety.

Show me an industrial accident that could not have been prevented by simple saftey measures.

*as defined by, say, one of those charts that show the 4-5 levels of organisational safety culture.
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