Explosion of Canister Results in $65,000 Fine for Manufacturer

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Workers stored a material called cyclopentadiene in a stainless steel canister placed inside a pail filled with dry ice to maintain a low temperature. Because of a power outage, the material was stored overnight. Workers didn’t provide sufficient dry ice to maintain the necessary low temperature. So the temperature of the material and the pressure rose inside the canister. A worker heard a hissing noise and saw smoke coming from the canister. As he approached the canister to inspect it, the canister exploded, damaging distillation equipment, the room’s concrete block walls and double-insulated doors. The worker was thrown back by the explosion and suffered second-degree burns. An MOL investigation found that the canister wasn’t equipped with a pressure relief device that would have slowly released pressure, thus preventing the container from exploding. The manufacturer pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a container was equipped with a pressure relief device and was fined $65,000 [Digital Specialty Chemicals Ltd., Govt. News Release, March 13, 2015].