The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) called for a ban on cleaning out debris from gas piping using pressurized natural gas. “Gas blow” is an industry-wide practice and is now described as an “inherently unsafe activity.”
CSB called for the ban after investigating a tragic explosion at Kleen Energy in Middleton, Connecticut, that killed six workers. After that investigation, CSB called upon the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to issue Federal regulations prohibiting the release of flammable gas to clean fuel pipes. Furthermore, the CSB sought changes to major voluntary standards from the National Fire Protection Association and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to amend their codes and standards to require safer methods of cleaning fuel gas piping.
Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell issued an executive order banning the use of natural gas blows during power plant construction in that state. The Governor’s spokesperson indicated making that change will save lives.
CSB also issued letters to 49 states, warning of the hazards associated with gas blows and urging state officials to enact necessary changes in their state regulations and codes to prohibit gas blows at power plants and similar facilities. Keep proper gas line maintenance procedures in mind when evaluating gas line failure subrogation matters.