Dramatic Safety Videos from the US Chemical Safety Board
June 6, 2014 4:13 PM   Subscribe

The United States Chemical Safety Board and Hazard Investigation Board, an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that investigates the cause of chemical accidents (About the CSB Video (14 minutes), website) has released a well-made animated video (11 minutes) detailing the root cause of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in conjunction with a two-volume draft report about the disaster. This is just the latest in a series of informative and fascinating safety videos released by the CSB.

Falling Through the Cracks (8 mins): An explosion at a crystal-growing facility causes a death at a nearby gas station.
Deadly Contract (13 mins): An explosion and fire in Waipahu, Hawaii kills five workers during an operation to dispose of contraband fireworks performed under a federal contract.
Inherently Safer: The Future of Risk Reduction (11 mins): An examination of the concept of inherent safety and its application across industry.
Hot Work: Hidden Hazards (11 mins): Welding on top of a storage tank containing flammable vapor leads to tragic consequences.
Iron in the Fire (14 mins): Three separate iron dust fires occur in 2011 at the Hoeganaes plant in Gallatin, Tennessee.
Experimenting with Danger (24 mins): Serious accidents in academic laboratories happen while conducting chemical research.
Fatal Exposure: Tragedy at DuPont (14 mins): Three accidents occur over a 33-hour period at the DuPont plant in Belle, WV.
Fire in the Valley (16 mins): A runaway reaction at a pesticide plant causes a catastrophic explosion and fire.
Deadly Practices (15 mins): Fires and explosions result from intentional releases of natural gas into work areas.
No Escape: Dangers of Confined Spaces (15 mins): A chemical fire erupts deep in a hydroelectric plant tunnel, trapping five workers.
Dangers of Hot Work (14 mins): Key lessons to prevent flammable vapor explosions caused by welding and cutting.
No Place to Hang Out: The Danger of Oil Sites (11 mins): After two friends die, Mississippi teens investigate the dangers of oil and gas sites.
Inferno: Dust Explosion at Imperial Sugar (9 mins): Accumulations of sugar dust fuel massive explosions, killing 14 workers.
Runaway: Explosion at T2 Laboratories (9 mins): A heat-producing chemical reaction runs out of control, killing four workers.
Combustible Dust: An Insidious Hazard (29 mins): Dust from industrial processes can become the fuel for devastating explosions.
Emergency Preparedness: Findings from CSB Accident Investigations (20 mins): Lessons from ten years of CSB investigations on preparing for chemical disasters.
Half an Hour to Tragedy (23 mins): Remaining too close to a propane leak proves fatal to responders and others.
Blast Wave in Danvers (19 mins): Solvent vapor explodes at a Boston-area ink plant, devastating a neighborhood.
Hazards of Nitrogen Asphyxiation (12 mins): Two contract workers suffocate while servicing a refinery process vessel.
Death in the Oilfield (8 mins): An oil tank explosion kills three workers performing hot work.
Fire From Ice (13 mins): Fire cripples a refinery after propane leaks from a frozen dead leg.
Static Sparks Explosion in Kansas (11 mins): Static electricity ignites a storage tank, forcing a community to evacuate.
Emergency in Apex (16 mins): A North Carolina town is evacuated when fire engulfs a hazardous waste depot.
Anatomy of a Disaster (55 mins): A massive explosion kills 15 and injures 180 at the BP Texas City refinery.
Dangers of Propylene Cylinders (8 mins): Gas cylinders, rocketing from a fire, endanger a St. Louis neighborhood.
Reactive Hazards (20 mins): Four major accidents illustrate the dangers from uncontrolled chemical reactions.
Public Worker Safety: Wastewater Plant Explosion (8 mins): Two public employees burn to death performing unregulated hot work.
Vinyl Chloride Explosion and Fire (11 mins): A preventable human error leads to a vinyl chloride explosion, killing five.
Dangers of Flammable Gas Accumulation (7 mins): When acetylene explodes inside a shed, three workers lose their lives.
Explosion at BP Refinery (6 mins): Explosion at BP Refinery, Texas City, Texas
Preventing Harm from Sodium Hydrosulfide (6 mins): Sodium hydrosulfide may create deadly hazards at pulp mills, mines, and tanneries.
Ethylene Oxide Explosion (9 mins): At a sterilization plant, bypassing a safety interlock has catastrophic results.
Propylene Fire and Explosions (8 mins): Without safeguards, a small collision leads to a massive process fire.

Descriptions for all but "Falling Through the Cracks" and "Explosion at BP Refinery" are taken from a list of videos available on DVD from the CSB website.
posted by Small Dollar (18 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Well-made indeed. Very clearly explained.
posted by idb at 4:34 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Holy crap it's like "Seconds from Disaster" without all the unnecessary drama and SHWOOP! sound effects.

I know what I'm doing this weekend!
posted by offalark at 5:27 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Quite a voice on the narrator, who seems like he's just about to say that Sodium Hydroxide is Wrong for America, or that redundant safety controls are a healthy part of a complete breakfast.
posted by tss at 5:38 PM on June 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

Anyone a bit surprised to find out that BP didn't tell us at the time that the workers on Deepwater Horizon were basically alive about an hour from when the kick happened to when they were incinerated, presumably with constant, increasingly grave warnings along the way? That would've led to some pretty uncomfortable questions, I suppose.

Meanwhile,the best known victim of the disaster, BP's sorry CEO Tony Haywood, went yachting for awhile, and finally got his life back and got the apology he was clearly looking for.

He was recently named Chairman of Glencore Xstrata, the 12th largest company in the world, with a 2010 global market share of 60 percent in the tradeable zinc market, 50 percent in the copper market, 9 percent in the grain market and 3 percent in the oil market.
posted by markkraft at 5:43 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I prefer to use the term "oil geyser."
posted by aniola at 5:44 PM on June 6, 2014

In 2008, facing looming layoff from Eli Lilly, I interviewed for a job as a Process Control Specialist at the BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana. In retrospect, I'm very glad that that I didn't get it.

I later read the CSRB report on the 2005 BP Texas City refinery explosion (pdf link), which is a good read, especially if you enjoy reading about senseless fire, death and mayhem resulting from poor training, an awful safety culture and terrible preventative maintenance. I decided to change careers from chemical plant process control to web development after I read that.

There were a lot of things I liked about working in a pharmaceutical plant, which is really just a cleaner kind of chemical plant. The ever-present risk of fire and explosion wasn't one of them.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:26 PM on June 6, 2014

"Fire cripples refinery after propane leaks from a frozen dead leg."

okay gang, no smoking around the frozen indian guru from the fpp the other day.

greed and carelessness and stupidity caused deepwater horizon, reinforced by the fact that the people in charge knew that they could never be held accountable. they have gotten bigger and more powerful than our courts.
posted by bruce at 6:47 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I guess it's not really the "root cause" so much as the "technical cause" about the Deepwater Horizon.
posted by Small Dollar at 6:57 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Agreed, Small Dollar. Part of the reason this report is so delayed is constant stonewalling by BP, TransOcean, and their risk-deflecting subsidiaries.
posted by anthill at 10:39 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

THAT is how you produce the hell out of a video. Amazing.
posted by mikelieman at 1:17 AM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

So what with those wiring mistakes, there is some direct responsibility. Somebody did that. We must know who. Did they at least get fired?

posted by Toekneesan at 4:03 AM on June 7, 2014

So what with those wiring mistakes, there is some direct responsibility. Somebody did that. We must know who. Did they at least get fired?

Yeah, we really found the culprit there.
posted by atrazine at 4:19 AM on June 7, 2014

See no-ONE is really responsible. It's the CULTURE...
posted by mikelieman at 6:19 AM on June 7, 2014

Hi-res photos of the two sections of the Deepwater Horizon BOP here and here. Also, here is where they've been since the accident.

And now to watch all the other videos...
posted by rlk at 7:13 AM on June 7, 2014

Considering the destruction that was caused, both to the environment and the surface structure, it's really jarring to see that equipment sitting there looking almost as good as new.
posted by dhartung at 10:59 AM on June 7, 2014

Yeah, those government agencies are just a waste of money. Who cares that they just spent several years uncovering a series of unforeseen issues that killed a bunch of workers and still exist in other wells that put others at risk.
And they produced a video simple enough for my grandmother to understand the issue.
It's about time we get government out of the way of private enterprise.
It is clear the market would have transparently sorted this out themselves!
posted by bystander at 2:49 AM on June 8, 2014

Holy shit, rlk. I would never have imagined I could click a link on my computer in Australia and see a satellite pic of a recovered deep water horizon bop.
I just have a big dose of future shock.
posted by bystander at 2:52 AM on June 8, 2014

And one final comment. Crews call the bop the Christmas tree in rig slang. I can see why, and it is one of my favourite industry slang terms.
posted by bystander at 2:53 AM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

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