Explosion kills three and injures seven

Published:  10 February, 2017

CSB deploys to explosion at Packaging Corporation of America Plant.

A three-person investigative team from the US Chemical Safety Board has been sent to the scene of an incident that occurred on 8 February at the packaging plant in De Ridder, Louisiana.

The company manufactures heavy duty-corrugated containers and lightweight cardboard boxes.

In a statement, PCA said that the explosion happened during annual maintenance in the pulp mill area.

According to initial reports, the explosion took place while contractors performed welding on a tank during a facility shut down. The explosion was powerful enough to cause the tank to fly and land in a different area of the plant.

According to Beauregard Parish sheriff's chief deputy JoeToler the area has been contained and there is no fire.

"Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the people working on our site," the company's statement said. "The top priorities at this time are the notification of families of the deceased contractors and investigation of the incident with authorities."

The CSB has stated that most hot-work incidents result in the ignition of combustible materials or the ignition of structures or debris near the hot work.

“The CSB has investigated many hot-work accidents across the country, including a 2008 explosion that killed three workers at a different PCA plant in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.” said CSB chairperson Vanessa Sutherland. “Hot-work incidents are one of the most common causes of worker deaths we see at the CSB, but also one of the most readily preventable.”

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