Final Report on 2014 Fatal Chemical Release Outlines Safety Deficiencies
Flawed engineering design and a lack of adequate safeguards caused the fatal chemical release at the DuPont chemical manufacturing facility in La Porte, Texas, on Nov. 15, 2014, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has determined. CSB’s findings are included in its final investigation report on the incident, which was published in late June. In November 2014, four workers were killed when approximately 24,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan, a toxic chemical used in the plant’s insecticide manufacturing process, was released into the air inside a manufacturing building. According to CSB, ineffective implementation of DuPont La Porte’s process safety management system resulted in the deaths of the workers during the chemical release. The facility has since been closed, but the agency stresses that the incident offers important lessons for the chemical industry related to emergency planning and response, process safety management systems, and safety culture.  The final report identifies more than 20 “key lessons” from the November 2014 chemical release that CSB says the chemical industry can use to help prevent future incidents. The agency urges companies to update emergency-planning documents when pertinent hazards are identified and recommends that facilities equip high-hazard areas with adequate detectors, alarms, and surveillance technology to identify whether there is a chemical release and if workers are affected. Dispersion modeling of chemical releases and monitoring for hazardous gases are among the other items addressed in the report’s recommendations. The full report is available as a PDF on the agency’s website.