Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Faulty Management of Change Can Be Fatal, CSB Says

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Faulty Management of Change Can Be Fatal, CSB Says

Article excerpt

Effective management of change (MOC) programs could have helped prevent two deadly fires that occurred in 1998, one in Maryland and the other in Washington, according to a safety bulletin released last month by the U.S. Chemical Safety Hazard and Investigation Board (CSB).

In one case, six people lost their lives when fire broke out in the delayed coking unit at Equilon Enterprises' oil refinery in Anacortes, Wash.

In the second incident, a reactor vessel exploded and caused a fire leading to four injuries and extensive damage at the CONDEA Vista detergent alkylate plant in Baltimore.

OSHA and EPA regulations require facilities to use a formal MOC program any time there is a change in covered processes handling highly hazardous materials. There is reason to believe, however, that complying with these rules may not always be good enough.

"The current regulations focus on physical changes," said CSB's Steve Selk, a professional engineer with 25 years of experience in the chemical industry who authored the safety bulletin. "What we're saying is it's a good policy to apply MOC to operational deviations as well. …

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