Three years ago, a midwestern manufacturer mixed together two incompatible chemicals. The resulting explosion killed four workers and destroyed the company’s production facility. Chemical reactivity hazards can be hard to recognize, but regulations may not require implementing even the most basic elements of a safety management system to control them. That’s why just following the rules isn’t enough, and why businesses in all industries need to take a proactive approach to risk management.
“Smart business leaders don’t rely on government regulations to determine risks to their business. They hire industry experts who evaluate the risks and then build smart management systems to control these risks.” – Jim Testo, EHS Risk Management
As the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) explains in a YouTube video, the midwestern manufacturer didn’t have a written procedure that required separating drums of incompatible chemicals. The CSB also determined that the process the manufacturer used wasn’t intended to assess the hazards of mixing chemicals. Although the manufacturer hadn’t violated non-existent regulations, an investigation concluded that an effective hazard analysis program could have eliminated the safety issues that led to the incident.