21 Apr CSB/OSHA Investigate OH Paint Plant Explosion
The investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) and OSHA into the causes of a fatal explosion and fire at the Yenkin-Majestic Paints and OPC Polymers manufacturing site in Columbus, Ohio, on April 8th, 2021, resulting in one death, five hospitalizations, and four non-serious injuries, continues.
21 workers were reportedly inside the facility at the time of the incident. The OPC Polymer unit was carrying out normal operations when the explosion happened.
According to initial reports, an explosion and two-alarm fire erupted at the paint plant around midnight on Thursday, April 8th. Approximately forty employees were believed to be working on site at the time of the incident — one of those employees was killed and eight were transported to area hospitals for injuries.
The blast shook neighboring buildings and at least one nearby business sustained damage.
- A review of the security video allowed the investigation team to develop a more precise time of the incident. The first event (loss of containment) occurred at 12:02 a.m. EDT (system time) and the video cameras stopped recording at 12:04 a.m. EDT (system time);
- Yenkin-Majestic provided the investigation team with an overview of the resin manufacturing process. The process is called alkyd resin manufacturing which utilizes the company’s own technology;
- Materials are mixed in a metallic kettle which contains an agitator and is heated by a furnace before it goes to a scale tank and then to product storage. There are a total of six kettles: four are heated by gas furnaces and two are steam-heated;
- The incident occurred during the batch production in Kettle #3;
- Kettle #3 has a rated capacity of 20,900 lbs. and is heated by a gas furnace;
- The fire suppression system in a portion of the paint production facility was activated during the event. The investigation team verified there was no fire event in the adjacent paint production facility; and
- The east wall of the paint production facility sustained damaged as a result of the explosion event in the adjacent OPC Resin facility.
OSHA has launched a process safety management inspection, which is the most serious category for inspections, reserved for those facilities that handle highly hazardous chemicals and flammables.
The Columbus paint plant has a history of violations, fires, and a previous employee death.
His supervisor administered CPR and used an AED until an ambulance arrived, but the man died six days later.
In March 2012, workers were mixing chemicals when vapors were released, and the employees had to pull the alarm. Everyone did get out safely, and no one was hurt.
Then, in December of the following year, there was another fire. That one started in a holding tank after a light bulb caught fire. No one had to evacuate at the time.
The OPC Polymer unit operates in a 24/7 operation and the site includes an adjacent paint manufacturing unit that operates 4/10 operation.