May 24, 2014

Reactive chemical incident due to human error

In 2012, a tragic accident in a pharma plant in Ireland claimed the lives of two employees. Apparently, the cause was due to human error in a batch reactor, when the reactants were charged without charging solvent first. The rapid reaction took place without the solvent in place to absorb the heat. This caused the reactor to explode. A news article mentions that one of the ambulances that took one victim was later found so contaminated with chemicals that it was decommissioned.
When you know that certain reactions can dangerously overheat if the operator forgets a step, proper engineering controls should be implemented.
Read the details of the accident in this link.

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