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Eastman cited for 'serious' violations in 2017 explosions

Hank Hayes, Kingsport Times News • Updated May 1, 2018 at 10:23 PM

KINGSPORT – Eastman Chemical Co. was cited for four “serious” violations involving the Oct. 4, 2017, coal gasification facility explosions in a report released Monday by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA).

“Eastman representatives are currently reviewing the proposed citations and are working with TOSHA on the final outcome,” Eastman spokeswoman Betty Payne said of the company’s response to the situation.

The main violation, concerning a faulty valve, resulted in a $2,400 fine. The three other violations, which concerned maintaining the integrity of its process equipment, called for no fines.

According to an incident report provided by Eastman, TOSHA said water was unintentionally fed to a gasifier instead of a coal slurry feed. “This stopped the oxidation reaction in the gasifier,” TOSHA reported “ … Due to the lack of slurry feed, pure oxygen continued to be fed to the gasifier which was not consumed immediately. This condition led to high oxygen concentrations in downstream equipment.” More about Eastman’s citation from the Kingsport Times News.

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