Little General Store Fatal Accident

There are several factors that caused the Little General Store fatal accident. These factors are briefly described in this essay.

Casual training was offered to the propane technician. The technician had only gathered practical experience for six weeks. This technician was the one transferring such a large amount of propane from the old tank to a new tank. If the technician was well trained, the defects on the valve could have been observed. This could be avoided by not removing the plug. The valve that was on the tank was also manufactured with a defect. If the valve was not defective then the leakage could have not happened (Hildebrand & Noll, 2007).

The speed with which the emergency team responded to the 911 call was slow. If they had acted faster, they could have managed to evacuate people within the 30 minutes time that the gas started to leak and the explosion happened. The emergency team also lacked adequate training to be able to detect the need for quick evacuation (Hildebrand, et al, 2007).

The location of the propane tank was another reason that resulted in  the accident. The proximity of the tank to the house is what resulted to the ignition of the gas. The tank was supposed to be at least 10 foot from buildings (Center for Chemical Process Safety, 1993). This regulation was flouted for very many years and the Ferrellgas audits and inspections never uncovered the unsafe location of the tank (West Virginia Code, 2007). This begs a question to the credibility of the inspections. If the inspections had been done well, this tragedy could have been avoided.

The most important cause of this accident is the casual training offered to the propane technician on site. The technician had very short practical experience and hence limited exposure on matters involving making of a judgment call. This technician had no onsite supervision during the time of explosion. If the work was to be done by a well trained technician with prior exposure to such incidences, evacuation of people from the surrounding could have been recommended. The leakage could have been stopped or controlled which could have prevented the explosion. This was not done by the untrained technician.

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