Back to School Safety Message

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Incident Description
Three accidents involving methanol which injured children during lab demonstrations are examined by the CSB. All the incidents involved demonstrations of flames – usually with a color additive – using methanol as the flammable liquid. In all three cases there was a flash back to the methanol bulk containers, and fire engulfed members of the viewing audience who were not protected by any physical barriers.


Investigation Status
The CSB’s safety bulletin was released at a news conference in Denver, CO on October 30, 2014.

A safety message reminding teachers, staff, and school administrators about the hazards of using flammable materials, such as methanol, during classroom science demonstrations.

 FINAL REPORT: Back to School Safety Alert
 FINAL REPORT: Key Lessons for Preventing Incidents from Flammable Chemicals in Educational Demonstrations

ExxonMobil Refinery Chemical Release and Fire

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Incident Description
On November 22, 2016, an isobutane release occurred in the sulfuric acid alkylation unit at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana which resulted in four serious injuries to workers and injured two others. The incident occurred during minor maintenance on a flammable isobutane line which failed, releasing isobutane into the unit which ignited. 

ImageInvestigation Status
The CSB’s final report was released at a pubic business meeting in Washington, D.C. on September 18.

A CSB safety video about the November 22, 2016, fire at the ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, LA, that severely burned four workers.