With all of the chemicals prevalent in modern day, it is an unfortunate truth that we are sometimes forced to pay the price. While almost every workplace is at risk for a chemical explosion, workers at a chemical or industrial plant are exposed to greater risks. By the creation of gases, the build-up of heat, and the reaction, a chemical plant can become the source of serious and debilitating explosions. These can result in serious plant explosion injuries, such as third-degree burns, and even severe property damage that can affect the local community for years to come


OSHA's fines, issues citations, and penalizes employers that deprive workers of a safe environment. As the owner of a company, it is their responsibility to ensure that every measure is taken to ensure the safety and health of the employees on site, as well as those in the surrounding communities. According to the Chemical Safety Board, there are a number of dangers associated with the use of natural gas for fuel pipe cleaning, primarily due to it being highly flammable. As OSHA seeks to implement safe workplaces, they highly encourage industrial sites to use non-flammable and non-explosive options when cleaning fuel pipe systems.


Studies of the most recent plant explosions reveal that the leading cause for an accident is a poorly maintained facility. The chemicals produced on an industrial plant are done so through the use of a broad range of equipment and tools. This equipment requires both specialized training and properly maintained in order to perform its purposes efficiently and safely. If the plant operators fail to comply with maintenance and safety regulations concerning their equipment, the risk of disaster is heighten dramatically. Workers assigned to maintenance are expected to inspect and replace outdated or worn equipment, especially those that may pose a risk if overlooked, such as catalysts, reagents, and boilers.


The dangers of cleaning fuel gas piping systems with natural gas is a growing concern among industrial workers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as there have already been devastating tragedies linked to it. On February 7, 2010, an explosion occurred at the Kleen Energy site in Connecticut that was caused by using natural gas to clean a power plant that was under construction at the time. Reports say that this incident resulted in at least 50 injuries and the death of 6 people. To clean the fuel gas piping system, workers were using a method called a "gas blow," which is when they use extreme pressure (650 pounds per square inch gauge) to push natural gas through the pipes.

Over a period of 4 hours, the workers conducted 15 different gas blows through the pipes, causing both gas and debris to be released into the atmosphere. OSHA investigators note that in this incident, the employers did not have a safety meeting prior to the cleaning project. During such a meeting, they would have addressed both the hazards of the gas blows, as well as review the safety procedures for cleaning. The explosion occurred during the cleaning when the gas was caught in a congested area of the pipe; this led to the dispersion of the natural gas. The pipes that were being cleaned were located between a heat recovery generator; this area was overcrowded with equipment, making the area unsafe and a hazard. At the time of the explosion, there were an estimated 150 employees on site, nearly one-third of them suffered from the explosion.

Related blog post