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SAFETY / OSHA - 9/14/11

NFPA issues new gas process safety standard after power plant explosion that killed six workers

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has issued a new standard to prevent tragedies like the 2010 explosion at the construction site of the Kleen Energy Systems LLC power plant in Middletown, Conn., that killed six workers and injured nearly 50 others. The 2012 edition of NFPA's Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems applies to fire and explosion prevention during cleaning and purging activities for new and existing flammable gas piping found in electric-generating plant, industrial, institutional and commercial applications. Among other provisions, the standard prohibits the use of flammable gas for internal cleaning of piping systems and requires the development of written safety procedures.

OSHA issued $16.6 million in penalties for 364 workplace safety violations to 15 on-site contractors following the Kleen Energy power plant explosion. The blast occurred when flammable natural gas under high pressure was used to clean new fuel lines. The gas was vented into areas where it could not easily disperse, contacted an ignition source and exploded. Employers had allowed welding and other work to continue nearby at the time, creating an extremely dangerous situation.

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