Industrial Safety

How leadership saves lives

Good leadership enforces safety regulations, focuses efforts and inspires confidence.

By Dirk Willard, Chemical Processing

I remember a hydrochloric acid accident at a Millennium Inorganic Chemicals plant about 18 years ago that injured four men; one later died. Although I wasn’t involved in the investigation, I suspect that safety practices, such as the wearing of appropriate safety gear and hazard communication, weren’t exactly textbook. Unfortunately, a similar situation occurred recently.

At 4 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2014, at DuPont’s plant in LaPorte, Texas, an inexperienced operator opened a valve to a vent line and was overcome with methyl mercaptan, a chemical used in the manufacture of a pesticide at the site. She called for help on the radio and five co-workers responded. Nobody was wearing the correct protective gear. Four people died and one was injured.

To learn more about plant safety, read “Fight Fatalities” from Chemical Processing.

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