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Is Your Workplace Hiding a Bomb?

Agents have narrowed down the possible source of the explosion in West, TX where 14 were killed and hundreds injured. It seems that a building where fertilizer was stored became the center of the explosion, however the fuse to the fertilizer was a smaller fire. In my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop we try to help participants understand that this can happen if you are not looking for the small fire hazards. The investigation might eventually show that workers, supervisors, and management knew of the hazard but failed to take action.

Catastrophic events like this usually start with a small incident such as the improper storage of flammable material. This improper storage is like a hidden bomb in the workplace and must be dealt with when recognized. Hazard recognition and control is the key to preventing small incidents that lead to catastrophic events.

Here is an idea, take the time to conduct a walk-through and focus on your storage of material that can start a small fire. Paper and chemicals can interact causing combustion and start a small fire that can spread to other areas. Look for trash cans that are made of plastic without a lid. Have you ever considered that a plastic trash can might create and electric spark when slid across the floor. Improperly stored flammable liquids can flame up starting a fire or become and accelerate leading to a catastrophic event such as the one in West, TX. During the walk-through inspection of your facility ask yourself, “What could happen?” Consider the answer to the question and it may prompt you to take action that will prevent an event.

If you would like to improve your companies chances of preventing injuries I suggest contacting Lee Burk in our office at: to schedule a date to pilot my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop at your location.

Be Safe!
Carl Potter

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