From the November/December issue of NFPA Journal
The explosion at the Kleen Energy power plant in Middletown, Connecticut in February 2010 was one of the worst workplace accidents to occur in the United States in recent years. A gas-blowing operation to clean debris from pipes led to an explosion and fire that killed six people and injured about 50 others.
In the aftermath, investigators, including the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), determined that there was no safety standard governing the operation that caused this catastrophe. In its report, the CSB recommended the development of a standard to prevent such explosions from happening again.
NFPA was the only organization that stepped up to close this dangerous gap in standards dealing with natural gas. Because it was believed that the gas-blow procedure was used in many other plants around the country, NFPA and safety officials at the federal, state, and local levels felt that time was of the essence in the development of the standard. Our regulations permit the development of standards through an expedited process if there is an urgent need to do so. We worked with CSB to get its views on what should be covered in the standard. The Standards Council quickly authorized the project and appointed the Technical Committee, which got to work in the spring of 2011.