Fire breaks out at ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge refinery

A fire broke out Nov. 22 at ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co.’s Baton Rouge, La., refinery, injuring 6 people, but was quickly contained. Four of those injured were in critical condition and hospitalized. The 502,500-b/d facility resumed normal operations later that day, except in a compressor where the fire occurred, according to reports.

The US Chemical Safety Board deployed three investigators to the site the following day. “According to initial inquiries, flammable vapors were released during unplanned maintenance around a pump. Although there was no explosion, the release ignited and caused a large fire,” it said.

CSB said the plant is one of 150 US refineries covered by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management regulations. “Despite some positive initial steps toward improvement in process safety management at the federal level, CSB investigations have emphasized the need for a more comprehensive process safety management system in the US to protect worker safety, public health, and the environment,” it noted on Nov. 23.

“In fact, the modernization of process safety management regulations is one of the CSB’s Drivers of Critical Chemical Safety Change, a list of key chemical safety advocacy initiatives,” CSB said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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