Chemical Safety Board wants new rules after ConAgra explosion

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Members of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board passed a new set of recommendations to prevent incidents like the explosion at the ConAgra Slim Jim plan last September. Board investigators found that a contractor purged a natural gas line into the building without ventilation.

The recommendations say that under most circumstances contractors need to ventilate gas with a hose or pipe when clearing a line of air. When contractors think they can’t ventilate the gas outside, the recommendations say they need to approve the plan with the local fire marshal or building inspectors.

The recommendations will go to the National Fire Protection Association and the American Gas Association for futher consideration before being incorporated into the two organizations’ rules.

The board voted 2-1 to approve the recommendations. William Wright, the one no vote, said he opposed the recommendations because they were too specific. Wright said the recommendations tell the associations “please insert this language.”

Wright argues that the board in the past has normally said, “You have a gap in your document” and the associations would take up filling that gap.

ConAgra Urgent Recommendation Final to Board 2-1-10 (3)

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