CSB releases video depicting Bayer CropScience fire

March 23, 2011

Washington – A new safety video from the Chemical Safety Board depicts the events that led to the fatal explosion and fire at the Bayer CropScience facility in Institute, WV, in August 2008.

Through computer animation, the video shows how a series of errors during the startup process caused a runaway chemical reaction inside a pressure vessel. According to the CSB investigation report (.pdf file), operators lacked adequate training, computer process equipment had not been fully checked and safety systems were bypassed.

In addition to killing two workers, the explosion required 40,000 area residents to take shelter. The video includes comments from some of the residents, as well as local officials. It also addresses CSB’s recommendation that Kanawha County, WV, which is home to the Bayer CropScience facility and other chemical facilities, copy the regulatory procedures in place in Contra Costa County, CA.