December 22, 2005 | Mark Paradies

CSB Videos – Includes narrated animation of BP Explosion Scenario

The message below is from the CSB about videos at their web site.

The following message is from the United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, Washington D.C.

CSB Posts Three New Videos on Website:

Safety Bulletin on Hazards of Sodium Hydrosulfide;

Summary of CSB Public Hearing on Combustible Dust;

Narrated Animation of BP Explosion Scenario

Washington, DC, December 21, 2005 – The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has posted on its website three new videos illustrating the work of the agency on the hazards of sodium hydrosulfide and combustible dust and a narrated animation of the tragic accident at BP’s Texas City refinery in March 2005.

The videos can be viewed online in the Video Archive section of

CSB Chairman Carolyn W. Merritt said, “We are embarking on something new, the use of brief videos to communicate our findings about many aspects of chemical process safety. We hope these videos provide a compelling way for people in industry, emergency responders, and the public to learn more about specific hazards and how to prevent chemical accidents in the future.”

“Preventing Harm from Sodium Hydrosulfide” is a seven-minute Video Safety Bulletin describing good management practices to prevent deaths and injuries involving the chemical. Sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) – a process chemical used in the paper, mining, and leather industries – releases highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas when mixed with acid or heated. The video highlights information found in the CSB’s written safety bulletin on NaHS first issued in July 2004. The bulletin found that NaHS accidents have caused at least 32 deaths, 176 injuries, 351 medical evaluations, and 10 evacuations of plants and communities since 1971.

CSB investigator Randy McClure narrates the video, which outlines the dangers of mishandling NaHS, summarizes the health hazards associated with hydrogen sulfide gas, and recommends safe management and emergency response practices.

The CSB also released a 20-minute video summary of a June 22, 2005, CSB hearing into the hazards of combustible dust, which caused tragic explosions in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Indiana that were investigated by the agency. A total of 14 workers were killed and 81 injured in those three accidents in 2003. CSB investigator Angela Blair, who is featured in the video, heads the ongoing combustible dust study which has identified 197 dust explosions in the U.S. since 1980 causing 109 fatalities and 592 injuries.

The video features comments from experts in industry, government, labor, and academia who participated on various witness panels at the day-long hearing.

The third video is a computer-generated animation depicting the sequence of events that led to the explosions and fire at BP’s Texas City, TX, refinery on March 23, 2005. Narrated by CSB investigator Don Holmstrom, the video graphically illustrates how the refinery’s raffinate splitter tower was overfilled, how instruments and alarms failed to indicate the dangerous condition, and how a connected blowdown drum and vent stack released flammable liquid and vapor which exploded. Also shown are still photographs and video illustrating the destruction caused by the accident, which killed 15 workers and injured 170. The video is an enhanced version of material first shown at the Board’s community meeting in Texas City on October 27.

Free DVD copies of all videos are available by contacting the CSB Office of Congressional, Public, and Board Affairs. Fully downloadable versions will be available soon.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, For more information, or to request copies of videos contact Lindsey Heyl, 202-261-3614 / 202-725-2204 (cell), or Kara Wenzel, 202-261-7642 / 202-577-8448 (cell).

This message was transmitted at 11:20 PM Eastern Time (U.S.A.) on December 21, 2005.

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