CSB issues report on Goodyear ammonia release

Washington – A Chemical Safety Board investigation into a 2008 ammonia release at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant in Houston revealed gaps in facility emergency response training, according to a case study (.pdf file) released Jan. 28.

The study states that a rupture occurred after pressurized ammonia was prevented from venting safely in a heat exchanger. Five workers were exposed to ammonia, one worker was injured while exiting the area and another employee died after being struck by debris. Additionally, the victim’s body was not found until hours later because Goodyear mistakenly accounted for all of its workers.

“The absence of this worker had not been noted due to the lack of training and drills on worker headcounts,” CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said in a press release. “Company procedures called for routine evacuation and shelter-in-place drills four times a year, but such drills were not held for several years prior to the incident.”

CSB also found a lack of communication regarding maintenance work and advised Goodyear to adhere to existing industry codes for boiler and pressure vessels.

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