Chemical Safety Board responds to East Texas storage tank explosion

On January 29, 2013, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) issued a statement calling on the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCC) to enact more stringent safety regulations to ensure oil and gas production sites are properly secured. The statement came in response to a January 29, 2013 explosion at an East Texas oil and gas production site, which critically injured two individuals. Investigators believe two individuals were seated on the storage tank when a cigarette sparked the explosion. In 2009, one person was killed and one seriously injured when an oil tank exploded in New London, Texas.

According to the CSB, oil and gas production sites in rural areas are often a gathering place or social hangout for children and young adults. From 1983 to 2010 there were 26 accidents involving explosion nears oil and gas storage tanks, resulting in 44 fatalities and 25 injuries to individuals under the age of 25. Alarmingly, the CSB reports that 27% of these accidents occurred in Texas and Oklahoma.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso called on the RCC to take additional precautions to restrict the general public’s access to oil and gas production sites. Recommended safety measures include fencing, locked gates, barriers preventing access to ladders and stairways, and additional signs identifying the fire and explosion hazards. The CSB points out that California, which has implemented additional safety and security requirements at oil and gas production sites, did not have a single fatal tank explosion between 1983 and 2011.

Click Here to view complete statement from CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso

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