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Inspectioneering Journal

CSB Deploys Team to El Dorado, Arkansas to Investigate Fatal Hot Work Explosion

This article appears in the May/June 2012 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

Washington, DC May 22, 2012 - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today deployed a four-person investigation team to El Dorado, Arkansas to determine the cause of an explosion and fire that severely burned and killed three workers.

The accident occurred yesterday, May 21, 2012, mid-afternoon on an oil tank site operated by Long Brothers Oil Company on land the company leased near El Dorado, in the southernmost part of the state. Preliminary information gathered by the CSB indicates workers were conducting hot work - defined as any burning, cutting, welding or other operation that is capable of initiating fires or explosions - on one of the tanks. The CSB team is expected to begin its investigation on site tomorrow morning.

CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said, "This unfortunate tragedy in Arkansas involving the deaths of three workers is the kind of hot work accident that occurs much too frequently. The CSB has investigated too many of these accidents which can be prevented by carefully monitoring for flammable vapor before and during hot work. We have released a safety bulletin and safety video on the hazards of welding or cutting around piping and tanks that have not been tested or monitored to see if they contain flammable hydrocarbons."

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