July 27, 2020 | Mark Paradies

CSB Praises Airgas for Actions After an Accident


CSB Praises Airgas for Actions After an Accident

US Chemical Safety Board Press Release

It’s not often that you see a company praised after an accident. But the following press release from the US Chemical Safety Board does just that.


U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Spotlights
Airgas in its Actions Following 2016 Nitrous Oxide Explosion

July 24, 2020 – Today the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) released a new “Safety Spotlight” highlighting the actions of Airgas, Inc., an Air Liquide Company (Airgas). Their rapid implementation of a robust process safety management program in response to a CSB recommendation resulting from its investigation into an August 2016 fatal nitrous oxide explosion at their facility in Cantonment, FL.

Following the incident, the company quickly began a comprehensive initiative to review the safety programs for their nitrous oxide production facilities, trucking fleet, and cylinder-filling operations. The scope of this safety initiative includes 17 different areas for process safety. Some of the company’s most significant improvements include initiatives typically associated with the most effective safety management components– including the hierarchy of controls, improved audit practices and inherently safer design

Chairman Katherine Lemos said, “Taking proactive, effective action, similar to what Airgas did following this incident, is the hallmark of driving chemical safety change. I applaud the company for beginning implementation of these important process safety initiatives before the CSB completed its final report. This is especially noteworthy given that OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard does not apply to its facilities.”

The CSB determined that the most probable cause of the incident was that, during the initial loading of a trailer truck, a pump heated nitrous oxide above its safe operating limits. This likely started a nitrous oxide decomposition reaction that propagated from the pump into the trailer truck, causing the explosion.

The “Safety Spotlight” emphasizes that in a little more than two and a half years, Airgas reengineered its entire approach to managing process safety in its nitrous oxide business. Airgas also increased its efforts aimed at sharing lessons learned and good safety practices, both inside the company and with the broader compressed gas industry. Airgas exceeded the CSB’s recommended actions by developing and rapidly executing comprehensive process safety changes that have broadly applicable lessons for the entire compressed gas industry.

The CSB’s final report is available HERE. The CSB’s recommendations are available HERE.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating and determining the cause or probable cause of industrial chemical incidents resulting from the accidental release of a regulated or extremely hazardous substance into the ambient air.

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen at public@csb.gov or by phone at 202.446.8094.

End of press release.

– – – – –

TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis and Airgas

Just one more note about Airgas. They have recently become a licensed TapRooT® VI Software user. CONTACT US if you would like to learn more about the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System or the TapRooT® VI Software.




Accidents, Current Events, Investigations, Process Safety
Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *