A Summary of the Events that Resulted into the disaster and the Measures that could have helped to prevent the Explosion
Goodyear applies pressurized ammonia as a coolant in the chemical process of the manufacture of rubber. The ammonia is made to circulate around the tubes where it cools the chemical processes that are contained in the tubes in the heat exchange. The rapture is said to have been caused by a closed isolation and a blocked valve, which acted as a connection between a relief valve and the heat exchanger shell.
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An operator of the company, unaware of the closed valves, continued with the cleaning of the pipe. The cleaning process and the malfunctioning valves resulted in too much pressure in the heat exchanger shell causing the rupture that occurred (U.S. Chemical Safety Board, 2011).
The pressure that caused the rapture could have been prevented from building up to the extent of causing the explosion if the necessary precautions were taken. Firstly, Goodyear ought to have had a proper communication between the operators and the maintenance workers.
The most effective preventive measure in this case would have been to ensure that the operators examine the block and the isolation valves before beginning any chemical process in the heat exchanger (Asfahl, Hammer, & Price, 2004).
Critique of the Accident Investigation
It is always believed that government investigations in incidents of accident are never exclusive and are always prone to assumptions that in most cases turn out to be disastrous afterwards.
The accident investigations conducted by government officials are often done hurriedly hence omitting some of the important steps. For instance, the investigators in the case of Goodyear failed to account for a dead employee until his body was discovered by his fellow employees.
The government’s investigations could be made more efficient if the investigating officials worked together with their fellow colleagues from the private sector. The coalition can ensure that every step conducted during the investigation process is well monitored and evaluated to avoid overlooking some of the steps that are often deemed negligible, but which are equally important.
Importance of Accounting for Every Employee during an Accident and Steps that Goodyear Management could have applied in Accounting for its Employees
It is important to account for every employee in a company whenever an accident occurs. The major reason for making such accounts is to ensure that every employee is safe. This in turn assists to detect if any of them is involved in the accident and helps find the quickest way of saving the victims.
To account for all its employees, Goodyear should have occasionally carried out employee headcount drills; this is the only mechanism that could have assisted the investigators to implement the company’s response plan on a facility-wide basis, which is highly effective (Asfahl, Hammer, & Price, 2004).
Pressure and electrical hazards are regarded as the most dangerous explosive agents, especially in manufacturing companies that deal with chemical processes. This is evident in the case of ammonia rapture that occurred in Goodyear.
The rapture was caused by the lack of a proper communication between the company’s operators and the maintenance workers. In cases such as the heat exchange rapture, the government’s investigators are not efficient in investigating the cases. Such investigations should be conducted by private investigators to ensure that they are properly conducted to avoid negligence.
Asfahl, C. R., Hammer, W., & Price, D. (2004). Occupational & industrial safety health management and engineering (2nd ed). New York, NY: Pearson Custom Publishing.
U.S. Chemical Safety Board. (2011). Case Study: Heat exchange rapture and ammonia release in Houston, Texas. Retrieved from https://www.csb.gov/