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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200370179 - Employee Injured When Chemical Reactor Explodes

Accident: 200370179 -- Report ID: 0454510 -- Event Date: 04/29/1998
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30176584804/29/19982869Kings Laboratory Inc.
Employee #1, the operator of a chemical process reactor, was experiencing difficulties with the agitator in a reactor in which a batch of a chemical lachrymator, 2-nitrobenzyl bromide, was being processed. Employee #1 was told to move the mixture to a 55-gallon drum while repairs were being made to the reactor's agitator motor. When the repairs were completed, the process was moved back to the reactor and the reaction restarted. Heat was applied using a steam jacket, but Employee #1 noticed vapors escaping from the flanges. He tightened the flanges down, but vapors kept escaping, so he tried to cool the reaction by removing the steam from the jacket and filling it with water. He repeated this procedure but noticed that the temperature was continuing to go up. He was just leaving to find the maintenance person when the reactor exploded. Employee #1 sustained injuries that required hospitalization.
Keywords: reactor, pressure vessel, explosion, chemical reaction, high pressure, pressure release, high temperature
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 301765848 Hospitalized injury Hearing Loss Mixing and blending machine operators

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