Chemical Federal agencies

NFPA earns CSB’s praise for ammonium nitrate guidance

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Washington – A member of the Chemical Safety Board recently praised the National Fire Protection Association for updating guidance on ammonium nitrate storage facilities.

NFPA published its guidance in the 2016 edition of NFPA 400: Hazardous Materials Code. The document includes revised safeguards for new facilities that are built to store ammonium nitrate. Some revisions apply to the facilities’ design, construction and fire suppression systems.

CSB member Richard Engler stated that NFPA’s updates marked an “important step” in preventing incidents involving the highly explosive material. Twelve firefighters and three citizens were killed in 2013 after an ammonium nitrate explosion at a fertilizer storage facility in West, TX.

CSB’s preliminary investigation of the incident included a finding that NFPA and the International Code Council featured “old” and “confusing” safety provisions for ammonium nitrate.

“I am encouraged by the actions completed by NFPA,” Engler said in the statement. “Strengthening requirements governing the safe storage and handling of [ammonium nitrate] at facilities across the country will help prevent another tragic accident such as the one we saw in West, Texas. The CSB is in the process of concluding its final investigation report into this accident and will be returning to West, TX, to release the report in the near future.”