Hazard investigation of reactive chemicals



The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) began operation as a new independent Federal agency in 1998. Its primary mission is to aid in the prevention of chemical related incidents (e.g., fires, explosions, or toxic releases) in fixed commercial or industrial facilities.

This paper discusses the organization and status of CSB's reactive chemical hazard investigation, which was initiated by a serious process incident at Morton International. The objectives of the reactive chemical hazard investigation are to: (1) determine the impact of reactive chemical incidents; (2) examine how industry, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) address reactive chemical hazards; and (3) analyze the appropriateness of, and consider alternatives to, industry and OSHA use of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reactivity rating system [1] for process safety management. The hazard investigation will make recommendations to promote the safe handling of reactive chemicals.