NTSB recommends changes in aftermath of 2016 W.Va. chlorine spill

Published: Dec. 6, 2016 at 9:30 AM EST
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UPDATE: 2/14/19 4:25 P.M.

A federal safety board has issued five recommendations after a 2016 liquid chlorine leak from a railroad tank car that injured eight people in West Virginia.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced the recommendations Thursday after completing an investigation into the spill at the Eagle Natrium plant in New Martinsville. The board said the spill occurred in a 42-inch crack in a tank.

Three recommendations issued to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration include improvements for tank cars that transport hazardous materials, prohibiting the use of steel cars that do not meet toughness specifications and establishing inspection frequencies, testing methods to detect cracks and repair guidelines for tank car owners.

The board also urged the Association of American Railroads and freight car supplier American Railcar Industries to monitor tank-car welding processes.

A Northern Panhandle chemical plant where chlorine gas spilled from a leaking tank car has been cited for alleged workplace safety violations.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued $25,500 in fines against Axiall Corp.'s Eagle Natrium LLC subsidiary. The Aug. 27 spill occurred at the company's New Martinsville plant.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail ( ) reports Westlake Chemical Corp. bought the plant in September and that the citations were issued last month.

OSHA says three citations involved rules for safely managing hazardous chemicals. A fourth was for communicating such hazards to employees.

A preliminary report issued in October by the National Transportation Safety Board described a crack on one end of the tank car that leaked.

A Westlake spokesman didn't immediately return an email seeking comment on the citations.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,

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