Home » NEWS » Manufacturing » Inspectors find 'hot work' was cause of fatal explosion at fish plant

Inspectors find 'hot work' was cause of fatal explosion at fish plant

Omega ProteinMOSS POINT — A fatal explosion at a fish processing plant on the Mississippi Coast happened when sparks ignited a volatile mixture in a tank, safety officials said yesterday.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said in a news release that inspectors found workers were performing “hot work” at or near the tank that exploded July 28 at the Omega Protein plant in Moss Point.

Hot work is defined as any burning, cutting, welding or other operation that is capable of initiating fires or explosions.

One worker was killed in the explosion and others were hurt.

Moure-Eraso said the tank contained about eight inches of a mixture of water and fish matter known as “stickwater.”

The explosion blew the lid off the 30-foot-high tank, killing a contract worker who was on top of it, the safety board said. A second contract worker on the tank was severely injured.

“The stickwater inside of the storage tank had been thought to be nonhazardous. No combustible gas testing was done on the contents of the tank before the hot work commenced,” Moure-Eraso said.

Omega Protein officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plant reopened Aug. 7.

Houston, Texas-based Omega produces fish oils and fish meal for human consumption and use in aquaculture, agriculture and industrial applications. The plant and its adjacent shipyard employ about 300 people, with employment peaking during Menhaden fishing season from mid-April until early November. The company has processing plants in four states.

BEFORE YOU GO…

… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Megan Wright

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*