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Mischarging causes fire

Incident

At a factory, the supervisor noticed that the lime silo level was low.  Lime was mixed with sodium carbonate solution to get a sodium hydroxide solution.  The calcium carbonate precipitate was then heated at 980°C to regenerate the lime, which was returned to the lime silo (while hot) until it is used again.  Since the level was low, the supervisor called a lorry over and ordered the driver to unload and thereby fill the silo.  The driver protested, but the manager would not listen.   The filling was started, but immediately huge explosion occurred with 60 metre flames coming out of the silo.  Apparently the manager had not checked the contents of the lorry, which contained starch not lime.

Lessons Learnt

Contents of lorries and tankers must always be carefully checked before discharging commences.  Many incidents have occurred from this simple ommission.

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