CSB report details risk reduction lessons from ExxonMobil accident

Following an incident where four workers were severely burned at an ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a report in September that highlights key lessons for reducing risk.

The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. An investigation into the ExxonMobil refinery incident examined operations conducted without proper safety hazard analysis, which has now resulted in guidelines outlined in the CSB report. A key safety lesson discussed in the bulletin is the “hierarchy of controls,” a method of evaluating safeguards to provide effective risk reduction.

Within the hierarchy of controls, an engineering control, such as improved valve design, is more effective than a lower level administrative control, such as a sign warning workers that the gearbox support bracket connects to pressure-containing components.

The CSB reports concludes that at the ExxonMobil refinery, updating all the older valves to the safer valve design, as was done to approximately 97 percent of the valves in the unit, would have ultimately prevented the incident.

Investigator Mark Wingard said, “Our investigation also revealed a culture at the refinery that was accepting of operators performing maintenance on malfunctioning plug valve gearboxes without written procedures or adequate training, which in this instance, resulted in a hazardous event.”

The CSB issued key lessons to address what they termed the shortcomings revealed by the investigation:

  • Assess human and machinery interaction operational difficulties that may exist at a facility.
  • Establish detailed and accurate procedures for workers performing potentially hazardous tasks.
  • Ensure workers are properly trained and able to safely perform all job tasks, focusing on processes and equipment to improve hazard awareness and help prevent chemical incidents.

Top 5 vendors in the oil field process chemicals market

Technavio has published a new report announcing the top five vendors in the global oil field process chemicals market from 2017 to 2021. The global oil field process chemicals market features a wide range of oil field process chemicals suitable for different operations such as drilling, cementing, completion and production.

The report shows the market will exhibit remarkable growth during the forecast period. The oil and gas industry, which is the only end user for oil field process chemicals, has a high demand for these chemicals because of their various applications in making upstream operations in the oil and gas industry highly productive and efficient.

According to Technavio, the top vendors are Baker Hughes, BASF, Halliburton, Schlumberger and The Dow Company.

Baker Hughes — Products and services fall into the drilling and evaluation and completion and production business units.

BASF — Oil field solutions include drilling, cementing, stimulation, production, and enhanced oil recovery.

Halliburton — Provides oil field chemicals for applications such as drilling, cementing, completion, stimulation, and well intervention.

Schlumberger — Offers oil field process chemicals for various applications such as drilling, production, completion, and processing and separations.

The Dow Chemical Company — Chelating agents produced extensively used in oilfield applications such as drilling, production, and oil recovery. Other oil field applications include acidizing, fracturing fluids, scale control and dispersants.

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US & Canada chemistry associations to collaborate on safe management of chemicals

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC)  are collaborating to enhance safe management of chemical products across the supply chain through Responsible Care, the global chemical industry’s signature environment, health, safety and security performance improvement initiative. First adopted in Canada in 1985, and in the U.S. in 1988, a key element of Responsible Care for both associations has been its mandatory verification and certification processes, which provide accountability that ACC and CIAC member companies have a structure and system in place to measure, manage and verify their performance. Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both organizations, CIAC will adopt the ACC Responsible Care Management System (RCMS)/RC14001 certification model as an option for its members to fulfill their CIAC verification requirement. Doing so expands RCMS/RC14001 certification options for CIAC and ACC members, to foster greater integration of Responsible Care program elements in Canada and the U.S, the associations said.

Report highlights top 3 chemical sensors market trends

The growing popularity of biosensors and sensor fusion technologies, advances in calibration, and the introduction of nano gas sensors are the top three emerging trends fueling growth in the global chemical sensors market, according to a new market research report by Technavio. The report provides an analysis of the most important trends expected to impact the market from 2017 to 2021. The report segments the market by type (biosensors and gas sensors) and geography (EMEA, the Americas, and APAC).

Accurate calibration is an important factor for safety requirement, as non-accurate calibration might lead to false alarms and even shut down of the process. According to Sunil Kumar Singh, a lead sensors research analyst at Technavio, “Vendors in the chemical sensors market are working on next-generation universal gas detectors, which can be calibrated in the lab that has a safe environment for establishing gas sensor parameters. This innovation will reduce the risk of accuracy and help in the adoption of fixed gas detectors.”

Global mining chemicals market forecast to reach $28.9B

The global mining chemicals market is projected to reach $28.9 billion by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate of 6.17 percent during the forecast period from 2015 to 2020, according to a report available at Research and Markets. The global mining chemicals market is segmented on the basis of function (flotation reagents), extraction chemicals (dilutents, extractants), thickeners (flocculants, coagulants), lubricants, pH adjusters, grinding aids, and others); on the basis of application (blasting & drilling, mineral processing, water & waste management, and others) and also on the basis of geography. The explosive and drilling segment holds the largest market share by application and is expected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period. The increased demand for power is expected to increase the mining activities and, in turn, is expected to drive the explosives and drilling activities. The waste and water treatment segment is expected to witness a robust growth rate owing to the increasing regulations on end-waste water disposal. By function type, the grinding chemicals segment has the highest market share.