Monday, September 5, 2011

ConAgra Plant Explosion - Garner, NC

In June 2009 there was an explosion at the ConAgra plant in Garner, NC. This plant was one of two facilities where ConAgra made Slim Jim meat like products. Gas that had been purged into the building as part of the installation of a new gas fired water heater accumulated in the room and exploded, killing four people and destroying the building.

ConAgra has since shut the plant down and is consolidating Slim Jim production at a facility in Ohio. ConAgra has been very generous to the community of Garner, which lost 700 jobs with the plant closing. ConAgra is giving the 108 acre manufacturing facility to the town along with $500,000 towards business development efforts. They also donated $2.5 million towards the construction of a new community center.

The US Chemical Safety Board investigated the explosion and has since made recommendations for changes in industrial practices in regards to the purging of natural gas into a building. When installing new gas fired equipment you need to release some natural gas from the new piping in a effort to get all of the air out of the pipes. It has been practice by some to vent this into the room they are working if the room was ventilated, as most mechanical rooms are. US CSB is now recommending that the vented natural gas be piped to a safe location outside the building. To read the CSB's recommendations follow this link(GarnerCSB).

It is a shame that 4 people had to lose their lives and 700 people lost their jobs to learn this lesson.

Good luck to the Town of Garner in their efforts to find someone to take over the plant. It is a great location, right off of I-40, not too far from I-95.

1 comment:

  1. There still are explosions been reported in plants like the one that happened in Texas where a fertilizer plant exploded taking more then 6 six lives. Safety training from reputed providers like should be provided to all workers to ensure a safe workplace.