Fatal Explosion, Repeat Incidents Force PolyCarbon Industries to Permanently Shutter Plant

Nov. 29, 2023
A plant in Massachusetts shuts down permanently after several safety incidents in recent years and a blast in May that caused one fatality.

Polycarbon Industries, Inc. shut down operations at its chemical processing plant in Newburyport, Massachusetts. The plant, which has been closed since a deadly explosion in May 2023, has faced multiple violations and thousands of dollars in fines from federal regulators over repeated safety incidents in recent years. In February 2020, an explosion blew a hole in the factory’s roof, and a chemical fire the next year forced a temporary shutdown.

The explosion in May propelled a large pressure vessel through the roof and into the parking lot, killing one worker. This month, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) investigation of the accident found the fatal explosion could have been prevented. OSHA proposed nearly $300,000 in penalties for 11 violations related to the production and drying of the chemical product Dekon 139, in addition to combustible dust hazards.
 
Editor’s Note: Chemical Processing recently hosted a roundtable on Combustible Dust Hazard Awareness and Control - Challenges and Successes and issued an ebook covering this topic. 

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