November 2014

November 17th, 2014

"Executive Summary:

On April 17, 2013, ten emergency first responders (ranging in age from 26 to 52 and all male) were killed when a burning fertilizer plant containing an estimated 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded just outside the city limits. The explosion occurred less than 20 minutes after the emergency responders arrived on-scene. The victims included 5 volunteer fire fighters with the city’s volunteer fire department, and 4 volunteer fire fighters from 3 neighboring volunteer fire departments who were attending an emergency medical services (EMS) class in the city. One off-duty career fire captain and two civilians who responded to offer assistance to the volunteer fire department were also killed by the explosion. The victims were among a number of first responders engaged in fire suppression and support activities and were in close proximity to the burning structure when the explosion occurred. Five other volunteer fire fighters with the city’s fire department were injured. The two civilians were providing non-suppression support to the fire department when they were killed by the blast. Three civilians living nearby also died as the result of the blast.

Contributing Factors
•Non-recognition of the hazards associated with ammonium nitrate
•Limited pre-incident planning of commercial facility
•Fire quickly spread to an un-controllable size
•Approximately 40-60 tons of solid ammonium nitrate unexpectedly detonated
•Responders working within blast radius at time of explosion
•Large non-sprinklered, wood construction, commercial structure."

Read more from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

November 10th, 2014

"The Asmark Institute hosted a dedication ceremony to commemorate the launch of the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture on October 27 in Owensboro, KY. Named after the former President of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), who retired in 2013 after 34 years of service to TFI, the facility will be used as a national training and education center for personnel employed in the agricultural nutrient industry.


“Ford B. West is known throughout the U.S. for his impeccable integrity, tireless work ethic and an inherent ability to quickly dissect complicated issues into a simple plan of action,” said Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute. “It is very fitting that we honor him by creating a first-of-its-kind learning center that advances safety and compliance for the ag industry.”

Among other programs planned for the new facility will be the training of auditors to implement ResponsibleAg, an industry-led effort to assist agricultural retailers with compliance on a myriad of federal environmental, health, safety and security regulations."

Read more from Crop Life.