Lessons Learned from Toxic Chemical Release Highlighted by CSB
A case history report and video highlighting the risk of accidental mixing of acids and bases or other incompatible chemicals at industrial facilities.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released the report and safety video following its investigation of the October 21, 2016, toxic chemical release at the MGPI Processing facility in Atchison, Kan., which resulted in more than 140 reported injuries. Approximately 11,000 citizens were forced to evacuate or shelter-in-place. The release occurred during a routine chemical delivery when sulfuric acid and sodium hypochlorite were inadvertently mixed, forming the toxic cloud that traveled into the community.
While the MGPI incident occurred during a routine chemical delivery from a cargo tank motor vehicle (CTMV), CSB notes that any chemical unloading operation can present severe risk of an incident due to the volume of materials involved. Three key lessons learned from the MGPI incident include:
- Facilities should evaluate chemical unloading equipment and processes and implement safeguards to reduce the likelihood of an incident. This should be done while taking into account human factors issues that could impact how facility operators and drivers interact with that equipment.
- Facility management should evaluate their chemical transfer equipment and processes and, where feasible, install alarms and interlocks in the process control system that can shut down the transfer of chemicals in an emergency.
- Facilities should work with chemical distributors to conduct a risk assessment and then develop and agree upon procedures for chemical unloading to ensure responsibilities are clearly defined.
“Mixed Connection: Toxic Result” includes a 3D animation of the incident and interviews with a CSB investigator and Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland. The video can be viewed on the CSB’s website and on YouTube. The CSB also released its final report on the incident.