2018 Accidents

Accident Update (7/25/2018)

New Delhi: An explosion of hot gas at a boiler at NTPC’s Unchahar power plant last year that killed 45 workers was the result of an “error in judgement” by some of the plant’s most experienced operators, according to an internal report on the state-run electricity producer’s biggest disaster.

The plant’s head of operation, head of ash handling maintenance and head of boiler maintenance – each with 28 years of experience – made a decision not to shut down a 500MW boiler at Unchahar to clear a build-up of ash prior to an overpressurisation in the unit that caused the gas release, said a summary of the report reviewed by Reuters.

“The shutdown of the boiler much before the incident would have been prudent,” the report, prepared by an internal committee of NTPC, said.

It was not clear from the summary when the report was submitted.

The three experienced engineers died in the accident. Reuters was unable to verify the claims made in the report.

The November 1, 2017, accident at the 1,550MW coal-fired power station in Unchahar in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, killed 45 people and left survivors with severe burns.

NTPC is the country’s top power producer and accidents have been rare at its facilities.

The plant operators were aware of an ash build-up in the Unit-6 boiler and had reduced the unit’s load to 300MW while workers cleared the ash from the furnace bottom in the hours leading up to the accident, the report said.

The ash build-up, however, caused a boiler tube carrying steam to leak, leading to a high pressure build-up and subsequent burning of flammable substances, the report said.

That led to a build-up of steam pressure in the unit that caused it to “trip”, or involuntarily shut down, following which hot ash and gases were released at high speeds that killed and injured the workers, according to the summary.

NTPC declined to release the full report or comment on the lapses mentioned in it. The company has revised its safety policy and is regularly conducting safety audits and mock drills, a spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

A spokesperson for Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, which made the boiler tubes at Unchahar, did not respond to repeated calls and emails.

Two NTPC officials, who did not want to be named citing government policy, said the company did not have the equipment to measure the amount of ash build-up in its plants and relied on physical inspection.

NTPC has now begun talks with BHEL to install a system to measure and monitor ash content online, the officials said.

Two explosions, big blaze (5/21/2018)

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 LUDHIANA: A fire nearly destroyed a five-storied hosiery factory at Jaswant Nagar in Bindra Colony here on Saturday morning, after a boiler exploded on its fourth floor. As the industrial unit contained highly inflammable woolen and cotten fabrics, and an LPG cylinder burst on the third floor after it came in contact with the flames, the blaze engulfed the entire building within a matter of minutes, according to eyewitnesses.
A fire official said damage to the building was extensive as two explosions took place inside it and the only saving grace was that it did not collapse. One of the factory owners, who stays on the third floor, suffered minor burns in the fire which broke out around 7am. A pet dog and a monkey, which had been chained on the terrace of the building, were killed. Though 16 fire engines were pressed into service, the blaze could only be controlled by 3pm. Some fire tenders were still stationed outside the factory at evening, as officials feared fabrics kept inside could catch fire again.

Explosion destroyed boiler on gas processing ship (5/14/2018)

by: Maritime and Crimean Shipping News

Offshore gas processing/regasification ship MARSHAL VASILEVSKIY suffered regasification boiler explosion, one of six such boilers, produced by Mitsubishi, was destroyed, during trials – said Gazprom deputy director during press-conference held on May 14 in Moscow. The delivery date will be postponed, added deputy director. MARSHAL VASILEVSKIY order cost is $295 mil., the ship is to be exploited in Kaliningrad region, Russia, Baltic sea. Reportedly, there were other damages besides destroyed boiler.
Offshore gas processing/regasification ship MARSHAL VASILEVSKIY, IMO 9778313, GT 118423, under construction (already launched) at Hyundai Shipbuilding Yard Korea, flag Panama, owner/manager GAZPROM JSC, Moscow.

Superior Refinery Blast (4/1/2018)

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SUPERIOR — A series of explosions and fires rocked the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior Thursday, sending a black plume of acrid smoke across the city, forcing massive evacuations and sending several people to local hospitals.

Essentia Health and St. Luke’s hospital officials said a combined 11 refinery victims were confirmed treated in Duluth and Superior facilities, one with a “serious blast injury.”

No fatalities were reported, and all employees and hundreds of contractors working at the refinery were accounted for.

No details were available on the extent of refinery damage or what caused the initial explosion that occurred just after 10 a.m., apparently in a tower near giant asphalt storage tanks. One of those tanks was punctured, spewing liquid asphalt onto the ground for hours.

A second, larger fire erupted just after noon with multiple explosions throughout the afternoon, sending a much bigger, black cloud billowing for miles.

Kollin Schade, refinery manager for Husky, told reporters that the facility was preparing for a May shutdown for servicing and inspection at the time of the explosion and that most of the fire and smoke was from asphalt burning.

Firefighters stood by for several hours until it was clear that a potentially dangerous toxic chemical, hydrogen fluoride, was not at risk of exploding then went “into offensive operations” with foam and water.

“The fire is out,” said Superior Fire Battalion Chief Scott Gordon, shortly before 7 p.m.

Officials said they hoped to keep the fire from re-igniting but that danger of a flare-up would persist for some time and that the evacuations ordered earlier would hold for the time being.

“Breathe easy. The fire is out. But stay tight” until further notice, Superior Mayor Jim Paine said. “Once we’re reasonably confident the smoke has died down, we’re going to let people go home.”

Around 7:30 Thursday evening, the smoke appeared to have returned.

Evacuation

At a 3 p.m. news conference, Paine said everyone within a 3-mile radius of the refinery should evacuate and stay out. Alexander said those who leave should plan to be gone a few days.

City and county officials also said that everyone who lived or worked within 10 miles south of the fire also should evacuate due to the potentially toxic nature of the spreading smoke plume.

“If in doubt … just leave. Find a place to go,” Paine said, later adding that “potentially all” of the city’s 27,000 residents may have to evacuate.

But by 7 p.m. Paine said he hoped most residents could be allowed to return by sunset Thursday.

Many of Superior’s main roads were clogged to gridlock with traffic through the afternoon as residents tried to move away from the smoke plume or retrieve loved ones who were evacuating.

Residents who evacuated and needed shelter gathered at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center as the primary site.

Superior school officials said public school students in the city were evacuated to Amsoil headquarters in Superior where parents waited in traffic jams to pick up their children. Superior schools Superintendent Janna Stevens said late Thursday afternoon that all students were either home safe with their families or were on their way home.

UW-Superior, all Superior public schools, Maple public schools and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College are closed today.

Mel Duvall, manager of media and issues for Calgary-based Husky Energy, said he had no information on where inside the refinery the initial explosion occurred. The company was planning a five-week turnaround starting in May, meaning parts or all of the plant would be shut down.

Officials at Enbridge Energy, which owns a massive oil pipeline terminal and storage facility with millions of gallons of petroleum products stored near the refinery, said their facility was not impacted.

Past violations

In 2015 the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined former refinery owner Calumet $21,000 over emergency response and flammable-liquids violations. Those violations were marked as settled and the problems solved by the end of that year.

It was the only OSHA enforcement action taken against the refinery in the past 20 years, according to a search of the agency’s database.

In 2012 and 2013 there were four reports of hydrogen sulfide releases due to power outages, according to the National Response Center.

The refinery has not been fined over hazardous waste since 1999, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Husky

Husky Energy concluded its purchase of the refinery in November, spending $492 million to acquire the refinery from Calumet. The Canadian refiner said there were no changes planned for the facility, but it was planning to continue a $30 million upgrade started by Calumet.

About 180 people are employed at Wisconsin’s sole refinery, which provides the Northland with gasoline, asphalt and other specialty petroleum products. About 50,000 barrels — or 2.3 million gallons — of oil per day can be processed at the refinery, located at 2407 Stinson Ave.

The Superior refinery was built in 1950, acquired by Murphy Oil in 1958 and sold to Indianapolis-based Calumet for $475 million in 2011.

13 injured in explosions in India (3/9/2018)

A powerful blast followed by a massive fire ripped through a private chemical manufacturing company in the Tarapur MIDC area in Mumbai, India, reports IANS.

According to Palghar Control police official Pramod Pawar, the blast occurred around 11:15pm on Thursday in the chemical company’s plant in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, a report of Times of India said 13 people sustained burn injuries after the series of explosions.

Three of the injured are reported to be in serious condition.

“The blast, cause of which is not yet clear was so deafening that it was heard in a radius of 10 km, and houses and buildings were shaken,” Pawar told IANS.

The blast, prima facie is suspected to have occurred in a boiler room and efforts were on to douse the fire in the factory precincts.

Local eyewitnesses said that the explosion, “sounding like a huge bomb” happened when many were preparing to retire for the night.

However, scared and shaken by the explosion, many feared it was an earthquake and hundreds rushed out on to the streets and sat there.

Three (3) Injured by Boiler Explosion (1/15/2018)

Three workers suffered minor injuries yesterday when a boiler exploded at a metal factory in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.  Meanchey district police chief Teng Sino said the explosion occurred at about 1.30pm in Chak Angre Loeu commune. He added that the company was using the boiler for work cutting and welding pieces of metal. “Three people suffered minor injuries, including one woman,” he said. “They are now being treated at the hospital.”  He noted that his police officers were still working to identify all the victims. “The reason for the explosion was because they were careless with their work,” he said.  According to local news, one of the three people injured was a Chinese national named Lay Chong, 70, the owner of the workshop.

In December, Labour Minister Ith Samheng asked officials to pay close attention to boiler safety at garment factories after a string of deadly explosions.

In April, two boiler explosions in Meanchey district killed two and injured four. Six workers were also injured from a boiler explosion that same month in Poipet city.

In March, one garment worker died and seven were injured in a boiler explosion at the Zhen Tai garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district.

NTPC engages DuPont for safe operations at its plants, prevent accidents

(01/10/2018) (Item of Interest)

 

 New Delhi, India:
State-run power giant NTPC has roped in DuPont to upscale safety standards at its power plants and installations to prevent accidents.

The move comes after the November accident at NTPC’s Unchahar plant that killed 43 people in one of the nation’s worst industrial disasters in recent years.

“The accident prompted us to have a relook at the entire operation – right from design to final supply. We have had robust operations and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place. But now, we want to see what we can do more to inculcate safety as a culture in the organisation,” a senior company official said.

Earlier, DuPont was working with NTPC at some plants. But after the Unchahar accident, the company decided to increase the scope of DuPont to all its plants.

The company is now also considering asking its units to report even near misses.

The Unchahar explosion in a boiler was the deadliest industrial accident in India since the 2009 collapse of an under construction power plant chimney at Bharat Aluminium Co’s Korba project that killed 45 people.

NTPC Chairman Gurdeep Singh said:

“We spend one full year for training. That is the investment for safety. DuPont is engaged to inculcate the complete culture of safety. We have not gone for the second best in the World.”

Singh was of the view that safety cannot happen unless each and every employee respects safety culture.

He also said the internal enquiry committee set up to look into the reasons for the Unchahar mishap would submit its report this week, which would further guide the company.

NTPC is the country’s top power producer and accidents have been rare at its facilities.

The plant operators were aware of an ash build-up in the Unit-6 boiler and had reduced the unit’s load to 300MW while workers cleared the ash from the furnace bottom in the hours leading up to the accident, the report said.

The ash build-up, however, caused a boiler tube carrying steam to leak, leading to a high pressure build-up and subsequent burning of flammable substances, the report said.

That led to a build-up of steam pressure in the unit that caused it to “trip”, or involuntarily shut down, following which hot ash and gases were released at high speeds that killed and injured the workers, according to the summary.

NTPC declined to release the full report or comment on the lapses mentioned in it. The company has revised its safety policy and is regularly conducting safety audits and mock drills, a spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

A spokesperson for Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, which made the boiler tubes at Unchahar, did not respond to repeated calls and emails.

Two NTPC officials, who did not want to be named citing government policy, said the company did not have the equipment to measure the amount of ash build-up in its plants and relied on physical inspection.

NTPC has now begun talks with BHEL to install a system to measure and monitor ash content online, the officials said. Reuters