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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 170662498 - Three Employees Killed In Chemical Plant Explosion

Accident: 170662498 -- Report ID: 0522500 -- Event Date: 05/27/1994
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10334209305/27/19942822Shell Chemical Company - Div Of Shell Oil Company
On May 27, 1994, Employees #1 through #3 were working at the Shell-Belpre Chemical Plant in Belpre, OH. A catastrophic failure of a 15,000 gallon polymer reactor vessel was initiated by a runaway chemical reaction involving an abnormally high amount of 1,3-butadiene during the production of Kraton-D, the Shell trademark for polymer. The reactor failure and ensuing fire resulted in the complete destruction of the polymerization unit. Missile fragments from the failed reactor vessel damaged adjacent units in the plant. One fragment punctured a styrene storage tank approximately 600 ft away. This subsequently resulted in the burning of five styrene storage tanks containing approximately 3.5 million gallons of flammable products. Employees #1 through #3 were killed in the explosion.
Keywords: flammable liquid, flammable vapors, work rules, fire, storage tank, explosion, styrene, chemical burn, flying object, chemical
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 103342093 Fatality Burn(Chemical) Chemical technicians
2 103342093 Fatality Burn(Chemical) Chemical technicians
3 103342093 Fatality Burn(Chemical) Chemical technicians

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