Numerous Fatal Accidents in China: Chemical Plant Explosion

In this month’s edition of the Hazmat Bulletin, we take a look back at the tragic explosion that occurred in a Chemical Plant located in Yancheng, China which is the worst industrial accident since the explosion in Tianjin back in 2015.

 

The death toll has now been quoted at 78 and the number injured is in the hundreds. Reports have stated that the cause of the blast initiated from a vehicle carrying compressed gas which then caught fire which led to a secondary and more fatal explosion within a bulk chemical storage area containing a large volume of benzene.

“Local press reported that 176 fire trucks and 928 firefighters were initially involved in the incident. The South China Morning Post said the explosion was heard 40km away and China’s earthquake administration reported a tremor equivalent to 2.2-magnitude at the time of the explosion on the afternoon of March 21”

 

Yancheng Satellite Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/22/world/asia/china-chemical-plant-explosion.html

 

 

Benzene

Benzene is a volatile and very dangerous material which has many adverse risks and side effects:

Health Hazard Danger Flammable

 

 

 

 

 

H225 Highly flammable liquid and vapour.

H304 May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways.

H315 Causes skin irritation.

H319 Causes serious eye irritation.

H340 May cause genetic defects.

H350 May cause cancer.

H372 Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure.

H412 Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects.

 

An explosion with such a large volume of Benzene had catastrophic consequences for the primary area with so many people losing their lives. What must also be recognised is the secondary effects of Benzene dispersal which spread into the atmosphere from the flames. Benzene will remain in the atmosphere for a worrying period of time.

“In February 2018, China’s State Administration for Work Safety cited 13 types of safety hazards at the company, including mishandling of tanks of toxic benzene, the source of the explosion.” 

Additional reports have stated that water sources in the locality have been heavily polluted with Dichloroethane and Dichloromethane which by their nature have a high COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) on rivers and other water sources which will cause serious side effects for aquatic life and also the risk to the human population consuming drinking water.

 

Public and Official Response

“After the Tianjin blasts in 2015, the government expanded inspections and toughened punishments for companies that violated safety standards. But many executives have cut corners under pressure to meet strict production targets, especially as China grapples with an economic slowdown” 

(http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/article/169028/China-pesticide-plant-blast-kills-at-least-78.aspx)

“Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.”

President Xi Jinping has exclaimed that all efforts should now be invested to help the injured survivors and the state media are pushing authorities to drastically increase action to prevent disasters like what has happened in Yancheng from doing so again.

 

Safety Regulations for Hazardous Materials Use, Transport & Storage in China

There is no debating that there needs to be a serious change in the approach to safety in Chinese industry. Particularly for Hazardous Materials or there will simply continue to be tragic accidents and innocent lives lost in the country.

Safety Legislation is written in Chinese law, but there seems to be continuous negligence to adhere to these laws and obviously. The penalties for such failures isn’t severe enough for the responsible organisations.

Below is a list of notable existing regulations in China for Hazardous Materials

https://www.chemsafetypro.com/Topics/China/Overview_of_Chemical_Regulations_in_China.html

It remains to be seen how safety culture in the country will change, but it is clear that there is a need for drastic improvements for the people of China.

 

For any queries on hazardous materials stored on your site, please don’t hesitate to Contact Chemstore for any advice and guidance you require.

 

Media Sources

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/22/world/asia/china-chemical-plant-explosion.html
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-47678641
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/death-toll-in-china-chemical-plant-explosion-increases-37940157.html
http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/article/169028/China-pesticide-plant-blast-kills-at-least-78.aspx

Additional Container Explosion

http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/article/169197/Second-China-factory-explosion-in-month-kills-seven.aspx?utm_campaign=NL190403&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&emailaddress=%7B~email~%7D#China

 

 

Your winter checklist for preserving product quality and safety

This month, we look into how the colder months affect chemical storage and safety in the workplace.

As winter approaches and colder temperatures start to hit, it’s important to note that climate alone influences a lot of key factors for industrial organisations – both in terms of storage and the safety of your workforce and site. In this article, we’ll cover how to easily mitigate problems caused by cold weather on your site this winter.

BP2
A fuel-testing module supplied by Chemstore to a BP UK site

Quality control
Temperature control is a critical factor when storing quantities of valuable products such as solvents, adhesives and coatings. It is essential in many industrial processes to maintain the optimal temperatures for these products to obtain the highest product quality for goods produced. For processes such as paint mixing, adhesive appliances and ingredient storage – companies need correct temperature controlled storage that is both compliant and fit for purpose.

Chemstore specialises in the manufacture of bespoke temperature controlled chemical stores that can be designed specifically for your product requirements.

For individual IBC containers which require daily use and need to be kept above freezing Chemstore also supply IBC and drum heating jackets which can be safely used in flammable environments on your site as they are ATEX rated.

ATEX
This bespoke highly specified module was designed to maintain accurate internal temperatures in ATEX rated environment. 

Site safety
As the colder months approach, the requirement for the onsite health and safety manager to be wary of seasonal environmental hazards such as surfaces affected by rainfall and icy conditions becomes critical. Taking employees’ welfare into account doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.

Icy surfaces create a slipping hazard for onsite employees but also there’s also other things like vehicle stability to consider. Chemstore can supply bulk quantities of rock salt that instantly melts dangerous ice on walkways and roads on your premises. For mobile dispensing we also supply a heavy duty towable salt spreader. For more information, just contact one of our sales team today and get prepared for the winter ahead. Call +44 20 8704 1807 or +353 (0)61 327 792 or email us on sales@chemstore.co.uk / sales@chemstore.ie

The Environment & Chemicals

AirWaterEarth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can encounter chemicals in any state in many forms at different times in their life cycles. Chemicals can move through the environment through a wide range and complex network of interactions.

Transitions at their most basic;

  • Air and Water
  • Air and Earth
  • Water and Earth
  • All three in combination

The Environment and the Workplace……

Environmental hazards must be taken into the context of the workplace;

  • Indoors e.g. Office, factory, powerstation, hospital, church.
  • Outdoors e.g. Gardening, construction site, fishing, vessel.
  • Combination e.g. Oilrig, construction site, water treatment plant.
  • Within a transportation network e.g. Ship, bus, airplane, train
  • Within a unique environment e.g. Mine / quarry, sealed environment such as a space station / submarine

What are the Potential Environmental Hazards to Health?

The list is endless, and is unique to each type of workplace!!!!!
However it can be overviewed primarily in the toxicological context as;

  • Chemical Hazards to health
  • Biological Hazards to health
pollution
oil pollution