Pressure vessel catastrophically fails and kills four. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a new safety video about the fatal explosion that occurred on April 3, 2017, at the Loy-Lange Box Company in St Louis, Missouri. The incident occurred when a severely corroded pressure vessel catastrophically failed, causing an explosion that launched the pressure vessel 500′ into a neighboring building.
During its investigation, the CSB found that over the course of many years, an area of the failed pressure vessel had thinned due to a known corrosion mechanism that was poorly controlled. And the CSB found that Loy-Lange repeatedly ignored clear warnings that corrosion was causing major problems within its operations. In fact, the CSB found that prior to its failure, Loy-Lange ran the pressure vessel normally despite knowing that it was leaking.
In the video, Interim Executive Owens summarizes the CSB findings: “The incident at Loy-Lange resulted from a tragic series of circumstances — ineffective corrosion management, inadequate pressure vessel repair, a lack of inspections, and the absence of sound safety management systems. The result of those factors was that a severely corroded pressure vessel, which presented a serious safety hazard, was allowed to operate until it ultimately failed, resulting in the death of four people.”
Interim Executive Owens concludes the video saying, “Leaking pressure vessels can be dangerous and should be thoroughly evaluated to ensure they are fit to operate. But even before a pressure vessel is compromised there are many ways for companies to ensure that damage mechanisms, including corrosion, are properly understood and controlled. Doing so can prevent catastrophic incidents before they ever happen.”