Industrial Crane

Crane collapses at Exxon Mobil Torrance refinery-three injuries

Industrial Accidents
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June 21, 2016– A crane has collapsed at the Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, CA at about 09:30 hours and three persons have been reported injured as reported by the Santa Monica Observer here.

The 300 tonne crane was being used for lifting a reactor top in the refinery, when the accident occurred. The refinery site has been plagued with several accidents in the recent past and it has been reportedly sold to PBF refining, which bought it for $537.5 million.This latest accident might cause a stoppage of the refinery’s operations for an extended period of time.

Industrial Crane
Industrial Crane (used for illustrative purposes only)

The last accident at the refinery was an explosion in the refinery’s electrostatic precipitator, or ESP, which is a piece equipment used to control air pollution. Due to a series of events that unfolded over several days, hydrocarbons accumulated inside the ESP. The result was a blast that dispersed large quantities of catalyst dust up to a mile away from the facility.

The CSB, which investigated the earlier incident, found that large pieces of debris from the explosion were thrown into other units of the refinery directly surrounding the ESP. One of these pieces of debris hit scaffolding in the refinery’s alkylation unit, narrowly missing a tank containing tens of thousands of pounds of modified hydrofluoric acid, or HF. The CSB determined that had the debris struck the tank, a rupture could have been possible, resulting in a potentially catastrophic release of extremely toxic modified HF into the neighboring community.