Two workers killed in acetic acid leak

Article by Adam Duckett

TWO workers have been killed by an acetic acid leak at a LyondellBasell plant in Texas, US.

The incident occurred at around 19:35 local time on 27 July at LyondellBasell’s plant in La Porte. Two contractors were killed in the leak and 30 workers were taken to hospital. 28 have since been discharged.

LyondellBasell said a mixture of “approximately 100,000 lbs” (~45 t) consisting primarily of acetic acid leaked. The mixture also included methyl iodide and hydrogen iodide said Harris County Fire Marshall Laurie Christensen. She added that exposure to the mixture results in severe burns and is toxic if inhaled.

LyondellBasell said the cause of the incident is unknown. Investigations are under way and include involvement from a team from the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB). In its latest update on the incident on 28 July, the company said air monitoring continues to show no actionable levels for residents in the area.

The company said in a statement that it deeply regrets the incident, adding: “We are following our incident response and investigation processes to understand what happened and why, so learnings from this can be applied throughout our company to help prevent a similar incident from occurring.”

Article by Adam Duckett

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