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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Inspection Detail

Inspection: 307063016 - Aldrich Chemical Company Inc. Dba Isotec

Inspection Information - Office: Cincinnati

Nr: 307063016Report ID: 0522000Open Date: 09/22/2003

Aldrich Chemical Company Inc. Dba Isotec
3858 Benner Road
Miamisburg, OH 45342
Union Status: NonUnion
SIC: 2819/Industrial Inorganic Chemicals, Not Elsewhere Classified
NAICS: 325998/All Other Miscellaneous Chemical Product and Preparation Manufacturing

Inspection Type:Referral
Scope:Partial Advanced Notice:N
Ownership:Private
Safety/Health:Health Close Conference:03/15/2004
Close Case:12/03/2004

Related Activity:TypeIDSafetyHealth
 Referral201953429   Yes

Violation Summary
Serious Willful Repeat Other Unclass Total
Initial Violations 17 3 2 22
Current Violations 10 6 2 18
Initial Penalty $67,500 $189,000 $0 $0 $0 $256,500
Current Penalty $32,500 $0 $0 $0 $87,500 $120,000
FTA Amount $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Violation Items
# ID Type Standard Issuance Abate Curr$ Init$ Fta$ Contest LastEvent
  1. 01001A Other 19100119 C01 03/18/2004 03/23/2004 $0 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
Deleted 2. 01001B Serious 19100119 C02 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $0 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  3. 01002 Serious 19100119 D02 I 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $4,500 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  4. 01003 Serious 19100119 D03 I 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
Deleted 5. 01004 Serious 19100119 E01 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  6. 01005 Serious 19100119 E05 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $4,500 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  7. 01006A Serious 19100119 F03 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $4,500 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  8. 01006B Serious 19100119 F03 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $0 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
Deleted 9. 01007 Serious 19100119 G01 I 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
Deleted 10. 01008 Serious 19100119 G03 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  11. 01009 Serious 19100119 I02 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $4,500 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  12. 01010 Serious 19100119 J04 IV 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $4,500 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  13. 01011 Serious 19100119 L01 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $4,500 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  14. 01012 Serious 19100119 O04 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  15. 01013 Serious 19100120 Q01 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $4,500 $4,500 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  16. 01014 Other 19100120 Q03 IV 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $2,250 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  17. 01015A Other 19100120 Q03 V 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $2,250 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  18. 01015B Serious 19100120 Q03 VI 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $0 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  19. 01016 Other 19100134 H03 IB 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $2,250 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  20. 01017 Other 19100147 C04 I 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $2,250 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  21. 02001 Unclass 19100119 F01 I 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $87,500 $63,000 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  22. 02002 Serious 19100119 J02 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $1,000 $63,000 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
Deleted 23. 02003A Willful 19100119 O01 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $63,000 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  24. 02003B Unclass 19100119 O03 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $0 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
Deleted 25. 03001 Other 19100134 C01 IX 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $0 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement
  26. 03002 Other 19100134 F02 03/18/2004 05/04/2004 $0 $0 $0 04/13/2004 F - Formal Settlement

Accident Investigation Summary
Summary Nr: 201953668Event: 09/21/2003Employee Is Injured In Explosion At Chemical Plant
On September 21, 2003, Employee #1 and several coworkers were working at a chemical plant that deals with nitric oxide. On the day of the accident, a major leak occurred in a stainless steel distillation column. The nitric oxide leaked into the facilities surrounding vacuum jacket and into the atmosphere through a pump, which controls a high quality vacuum inside the jacket to minimize transmission of heat toward the cryogenic distillation columns. A brown cloud quickly formed and the temperature and the pressure inside the distillation column and its surrounding vacuum jacket began to rise. The leak was detected and the vacuum pump was turned off to halt the leakage of nitric oxide into the atmosphere, allowing the pressure inside the column and vacuum jacket to stabilize around 130 psi. Although stabilized, the pressure was far above the normal pressure of less than or equal to atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi). Approximately 3 hours later, an explosion occurred. The operation and process were destroyed, and debris flew through the plant. Employee #1 suffered lacerations due to flying glass and was treated at a local hospital, where he received stitches and then released. A detailed investigation determined that the cause of the explosion was most likely due to something inside the vacuum jacket initiated the dissociation of nitric oxide, a reaction that is very rapid, exothermic, and self-propagating once started.
Keywords: leak, pressure vessel, work rules, explosion, laceration, chemical reaction, nitrous oxide, process safety, face, untrained
Inspection Degree Nature Occupation
1 307063016 Non Hospitalized injury Other Occupation not reported

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