Safety first in hot areas, video shows

Monday, June 7, 2010 @ 04:06 PM gHale

You would think it would be a no brainer when thinking about the hazards to welding and other hot activities working in and around storage tanks containing flammable materials.
However, in quite a few cases, going back to basics can save lives.
That is why the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released a 14 minute safety video entitled “Dangers of Hot Work.”
Hot work is burning, welding, or similar spark-producing operations that can ignite fires or explosions. Since the release of the CSB hot work safety bulletin last March in Wausau, WI, near the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) facility where three workers were killed in July 2008 during a hot work-related explosion, there have been at least an additional 11 hot work accidents resulting in five fatalities and 14 hospitalizations. Included in these events is the explosion and fire at the Navajo Refining Company that killed two workers and injured two others in Artesia, NM, where a crew of insulators was working on a crude oil storage tank.
The video uses 3-D computer animations to depict three hot work accidents at Partridge-Raleigh, an oil production site in Central Mississippi; the Bethune Waste Water Treatment Plant in Daytona Beach, Florida; and the Motiva Enterprises Refinery in Delaware City, Delaware.
The video also features an interview with John Capanna, who suffered burns over 90% of his body following a hot work accident while he performed maintenance activities at a refinery in New Jersey in 1979.
“Don’t think that something this tragic couldn’t happen to you or somebody you love,” Capanna said. “This could happen to anybody.”
Also featured in the video is Casey Jones, the wife of crane operator Clyde Jones, who died in a fire at the Bethune Waste Water Treatment Plant in January 2006.
“As a wife, I just assumed that he had a normal, everyday 7:00 to 3:30, Monday through Friday job, safe as my job,” Jones said. “I would have never dreamed in a million years he would have been killed in an explosion.”
Hot work accidents occur throughout many industries in the U.S., including food processing, pulp and paper manufacturing, oil production, fuel storage, and waste treatment.
“We typically hear about hot work accidents weekly,” said CSB Investigations Supervisor Donald Holmstrom. “It has become one of the most significant types of incidents the CSB investigates, in terms of deaths, in terms of frequency.”

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