According to the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), flammable, reactive, and toxic substances can cause catastrophic accidents and injuries. There are a variety of industries that use such chemicals. These substances are generally dangerous when released or when there is a leakage; hence, every chemical plant must strictly follow OSHA’s guidelines.
In this piece, we’ll go over everything you should know about safety in a chemical manufacturing and processing plant.
An employee who is ignorant about handling dangerous chemicals and substances in a plant is a recipe for disaster.
This is why employers are required to provide extensive training to new employees. If employers fail to do so, they may be liable for any injuries or accidents caused by these employees.
Employers must make it a point to ensure each and every employee is apprised on the plant’s operating procedures. All training must primarily focus on employee safety and proper safety operating procedures. OSHA also mandates training on emergency procedures as well as health hazards in the workplace.
There are four primary causes of chemical plant accidents—poor training, human error, inadequate maintenance, and defective equipment.
While accidents in a chemical plant are generally caused by any one of these factors, accidents such as explosions tend to be caused by a combination of different factors. For example, an explosion may not be caused by defective equipment alone; improper training and defective equipment may also play a role.
Most chemical plant accidents are preventable. Clear documentation, frequent maintenance, and good safety practices, all contribute significantly to preventing the vast majority of chemical plant disasters. The Williams Olefins plant explosion that occurred in Geismar in 2013, for example, may have been prevented if communication was clear and relatively inexpensive equipment was used.
Employers can facilitate proper safety at a chemical plant by following OSHA guidelines strictly and installing basic equipment such as properly-maintained safety valves, proper ventilation, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety features.
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