Recent chemical spills have turned the nation's attention to the safety of chemical plants across the country, and how to ensure that they provide as little risk as possible. On July 7 of this year, a chemical plant in Dalton, a small city north of Atlanta, caused concern in the community after a worker was rushed to the hospital. During an intentional combining of chemicals, fumes from the mixture escaped and burned the worker, leading to still unanswered questions of whether any fumes spread to the rest of the factory or the nearby area.
This comes just a month after White House officials released a report on current and future measures to increase chemical plant safety across the country. This report was sparked in part by the massive explosion of a fertilizer plant in West Texas in August 2013, which killed 15 workers and destroyed much of the town nearby. In such an obviously hazardous industry even the slightest mistake could mean disaster for not only the employees of the plant, but potentially for the surrounding community.
Enacting and enforcing safety precautions is imperative in minimizing potential catastrophes. There are dozen of procedures in place and a host of equipment to protect workers from dangerous situations.
Chemical Plant Safety Precautions to Avoid Accidents and Injuries
- Carbon monoxide and other gas detectors
- Ear plugs
- Fire extinguishers
- Flammable safety cabinets
- Frequent training on safety procedures
- Perform hydrostatic tests to check pressure safety equipment
- Protective eyewear
- Eye-washing equipment for splashes
- Protective suiting, including gloves
- Safety valves to regulate pressure
- Ventilation and respiration for fumes
Regular safety inspection is highly recommended to keep equipment up to date and ensure all procedures are being followed correctly. The White House's report on chemical plants stated 27 significant incidents have occurred at plants in the last five years. Reduction of chemical plant accidents can only occur through stringent safety measures and constant vigilance in complying with every procedure, not matter how seemingly insignificant.