addition, an interlock system designed to prevent the accumulation
of methomyl process residue into the residue treater vessel was
“The deaths of the workers as a result of this accident were all
the more tragic because it could have been prevented had Bayer
CropScience provided adequate training, and required a comprehen-
sive pre-startup equipment checkout and strict conformance with
appropriate startup procedures,” said CSB Chairperson Dr. Rafael
Moure-Eraso. “This would have revealed multiple dangerous condi-
tions and procedures that were occurring at a time when the com-
pany wanted to restart production of a key pesticide product.
Startups are always a potentially hazardous operation, but to begin
with computer control systems that have not been checked, while
bypassing safety interlocks, is unacceptable.”
The explosion caused the vessel to crash into the methomyl unit.
In its investigation, CSB also explored the consequences had the ex-
plosion caused the vessel to fly in another direction. In a hypotheti-
cal trajectory, the vessel could have hit piping at the top of the
methyl isocyanate (MIC) tank and caused the release of the toxic
chemical. In what is widely considered the world’s worst industrial
accident, a December 1984 release of toxic gas at a MIC storage fa-
cility in Bhopal, India, resulted in thousands of deaths.
On Jan. 11, Bayer CropScience announced that it would close the
Institute plant in 2012. The plant is currently the only MIC storage
facility in the United States.
The CSB press release can be found at www.csb.gov/newsroom/
detail.aspx?nid=361. To read more about CSB’s investigation into
the Bayer CropScience explosion, visit www.csb.gov/investigations/
NIOSH Partners with Retail Group
On Jan. 20, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced that it has partnered with NIOSH in an effort to address
workplace health and safety conditions in the retail industry.
Through this collaboration, the organizations plan to provide outreach, communication, and opportunities for professional development in occupational health and safety to retail industry
"Partnerships are a critical part of improving the safety and
health of all workers," said NIOSH Director John Howard in an
agency press release. "We are excited to join with RILA in advancing and collaborating on best practices in occupational safety and
health research." Together, NIOSH and RILA plan to develop and
disseminate worker health and safety information, take part in
conferences and other important OSH events, help advance OSH
research, and ensure the implementation of workplace injury prevention measures.
The NIOSH press release is available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/
Documentary Will Explore Construction of Las Vegas
The documentary Cost of Construction, a CaveLight Films production, will investigate the deaths of workers during construction of
the CityCenter complex in Las Vegas, Nev. The film will also feature