CSB: Chemical Industry Could Benefit from Inherently Safer Design and Technology

Published July 19, 2012

A new safety video released by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) focuses on the 2008 explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute, W.Va., that killed two workers and injured eight others when a residue treater vessel exploded during a post-maintenance startup. During its investigation, CSB found that the accident also could have affected the plant’s surrounding community, releasing toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) into the atmosphere. Following the accident, Congress directed CSB to commission the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to “study the feasibility of reducing or eliminating the inventory of [MIC] stored at the Bayer plant.” The NAS study also examined how the concept of “inherent safety” could be applied at the Bayer plant. The NAS panel recently released its findings.

According to the agency’s press release, “the chemical industry could benefit from incorporating the principles of inherently safer design into making decisions – decisions which will satisfy the interests of chemical companies, workers, and members of the communities near their plants.”

The new safety video, “Inherently Safer: The Future of Risk Reduction,” includes interviews with NAS panel members and staff, and commentary from CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso and CSB investigators. Watch the video on CSB’s website. For more information on the Bayer CropScience explosion, visit CSB’s investigation page.