CSB issues report on fatal 2009 manufacturing explosion

Rockford, IL – Failure to inspect pressure vessels and heed safety warnings resulted in the fatal 2009 explosion at a manufacturing company in Belvidere, IL, according to the Chemical Safety Board.

The explosion at the NDK Crystal Inc. facility killed a nearby truck driver. In a case study and safety video released at a public meeting Nov. 14, CSB tied the explosion to a corroded pressure vessel, which NDK had not inspected for years. The vessel ruptured, and a steel beam traveled 650 feet, striking the driver.

The vessels did not meet a national code, and NDK ignored the warnings of a third-party safety auditor who said the vessels were cracking from corrosion and should be taken out of service, CSB determined.

CSB also pointed blame at the Illinois Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety for incorrectly labeling the vessels “non-corrosive” and only inspecting the outside – missing the corrosion occurring on the inside.

The report’s recommendations for NDK include proving any new processes are safer than the previous one, developing a program to ensure integrity of the inside of vessels, and conducting annual inspections and take corrective actions.