Our reporter Li He
At present, the total number of chemical accidents in my country is still relatively large, and the death toll from chemical accidents with the same output value is 2-3 times that of advanced countries in the world. A large number of new processes and new business forms continue to emerge, bringing new problems and challenges to the safe production of chemicals and hazardous chemicals.
At 18:00 local time on August 4, a serious explosion occurred at the port of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, causing at least 158 deaths, more than 6,000 injuries, and 300,000 people homeless. Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab stated that the explosion was caused by the ignition of about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate by combustible and explosive materials, which have been stored in port warehouses since 2014, but have never been properly secured Disposal.
The major explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, once again sounded the alarm for the control of hazardous chemicals.
On August 5, the Office of the State Council’s Security Committee and the Emergency Management Department held a national video conference on production safety to deploy a national special inspection and rectification of hazardous chemicals storage safety.
The relevant person in charge of the Emergency Management Department stated that my country is a major chemical country in the world, and there are a large number of ports, docks, warehouses, storage yards, and transport vehicles and ships involving hazardous chemicals, and safety risks continue to increase. Focus on ports, wharves, logistics warehouses, chemical parks, etc., immediately carry out a special inspection and rectification of the storage safety of hazardous chemicals nationwide.
my country's hazardous chemical accidents are generally on a downward trend
Hazardous chemicals refer to highly toxic chemicals and other chemicals that have toxic, corrosive, explosive, burning, combustion-supporting properties, and are harmful to humans, facilities, and the environment. Since many chemical products exist in the form of mixtures and are only produced in very few manufacturers, it is still difficult to accurately determine the types of chemicals commercialized in the world. my country's "Dangerous Chemicals Catalog (2018 Edition)" includes 2,828 types.
Currently, the management and control of hazardous chemicals is a global problem, and accidents occur frequently due to poor management and other reasons. According to reports, in the early morning of May 7, a leak occurred at a factory in southern India. The leaked gas was styrene. The factory involved was operated by LG Polymer, a subsidiary of South Korea’s LG Chemical. The accident resulted in at least 11 deaths, and more than 5,000 people suffered from breathing difficulties and vomiting.
After two months of investigation, the relevant parties believed that the leakage accident was caused by defects in gas storage technology. The factory was accused of "serious errors", "mismanagement" and "all emergency procedures collapsed" were also important factors that caused the accident.
Coincidentally. In the early morning of November 15, 2014, a chemical spill occurred at DuPont's plant in the Laporte area southeast of Houston, killing 4 people. DuPont spokesman Woods confirmed that this was due to the failure of the valve of the storage tank storing methyl mercaptan, which caused a large amount of methyl mercaptan to leak.
According to data released by the Ministry of Emergency Management, my country’s chemical industry has accounted for 40% of the world’s output value, ranking first in the world. There are 210,000 hazardous chemicals production and operation units, involving more than 2,800 types. The output value in 2018 accounted for 13.8% of the national GDP.
my country has established a relatively complete mechanism for the safety management of hazardous chemicals. In 2002, the State Council promulgated and formally implemented the "Regulations on the Safety Management of Hazardous Chemicals", which clearly stipulated the production and storage, use, operation, and transportation safety of hazardous chemicals, the registration of hazardous chemicals, emergency rescue of accidents, and legal responsibilities. Subsequently, revisions and amendments were made in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Sun Guangyu, director of the Department of Safety Supervision and Administration of Hazardous Chemicals of the Ministry of Emergency Management, said that in recent years, the overall national chemical and hazardous chemical accidents have shown a continuous downward trend, from the highest of 577 in 2006 to 164 in 2019, a year-on-year decrease. 71.6%.
Insufficient professional talents, outstanding problems of focusing on efficiency and over safety
Although China’s chemical and hazardous chemical accidents are generally on a downward trend, Sun Guangyu also emphasized that major accidents have occurred from time to time, especially the "3.21" particularly major explosion accident of Jiangsu Xiangshui Tianjiayi Chemical Co., Ltd., which exposed China’s chemical industry There are still some loopholes and shortcomings in the safety production of hazardous chemicals. These include the inadequate implementation of the main responsibility for production safety of enterprises, the weak legal system and risk awareness of some enterprises, and the prominent problems of focusing on benefits over safety; the quality and ability of employees are not compatible with the rapid development of the chemical industry.
According to the data provided by the Emergency Management Department, only about 30% of the actual controllers and principals of hazardous chemical production enterprises in the country have a chemical background, and less than 50% of the safety management personnel have a chemical background. There is a serious shortage of professionals.
Yan Lunjiang, president of the China National Petroleum Corporation Safety and Environmental Technology Research Institute, said that the number of small and medium-sized chemical companies in my country accounts for more than 80% of the total number of chemical companies. Most small and medium-sized chemical enterprises are backward in process technology and equipment, insufficient management methods, low levels of mechanization, automation, and intelligence, and insufficient investment in safety. The level of informatization and intelligence in the safe production of hazardous chemicals is not high, the construction of informatization monitoring and supervision systems is lagging, the communication of supervision information is not smooth, and the scientific nature of emergency rescue is insufficient due to poor information after an accident.
In the past, major hazardous chemical safety accidents also exposed the problem of inadequate regulatory information, resulting in rescue workers not knowing what toxic and hazardous substances were at the accident site and unable to make targeted decisions.
Sun Guangyu said that compared with the level of advanced countries in the world, the total number of chemical accidents in my country is still relatively large, and the death toll from chemical accidents with the same output value is 2-3 times that of advanced countries in the world. At present, a large number of new processes and new formats are constantly emerging, which brings new problems and challenges to the safe production of chemicals and hazardous chemicals.
On June 13, the explosion of the G15 Shenhai high-speed tanker occurred in Wenling City, Zhejiang Province, which occurred during the transportation of liquefied petroleum gas. "China is a big country in the production and use of dangerous goods. As of the end of 2018, there were 12,300 dangerous goods road transport companies, 373,000 vehicles, 1.6 million employees, and nearly 3 million tons of dangerous goods transported on the road every day." Wu Chungeng, spokesman for the Ministry of Transport, said.
Chen Kuifu, a professor of mechanics at China Agricultural University, emphasized that for the transportation of hazardous chemicals, the maintenance and management costs are high in the later stage. Enterprises must put safety first and increase investment. Related national departments also need to further strengthen management.
The preliminary establishment of a joint supervision mechanism for major hazards
In order to solve the problems of insufficient grassroots hazardous chemical safety supervision professionals and weak capabilities, effectively prevent and resolve major safety risks. At the beginning of 2019, the Office of the Security Committee of the State Council issued the "Notice on Carrying out Expert Guidance Services in Key Hazardous Chemical Counties" and organized a 3-year expert guidance service for 53 key hazardous chemical counties across the country.
Up to now, more than 1,600 experts have been selected from central enterprises and industry associations to form 20 expert groups and have successively carried out three rounds of guidance services.
At the beginning of this year, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council issued the "Opinions on Comprehensively Strengthening the Work of Safe Production of Hazardous Chemicals" (hereinafter referred to as the "Opinions"). In response to the problems exposed in the safety production accidents of hazardous chemicals in recent years, we must pay close attention to the shortcomings, plug loopholes, and strengths and weaknesses.
Sun Guangyu said that through the special supervision and inspection of major hazardous sources of hazardous chemicals carried out from May 10 to the end of June this year, the supervision and inspection of 7,687 major hazardous chemical companies and 22,326 major hazardous sources nationwide have been completed. A total of 77,164 hidden dangers were discovered, of which 75,923 and 1241 were general and major hidden dangers. At present, 54302 hidden dangers have been rectified, with a rectification rate of 70.4%; among them, 984 major hidden dangers have been rectified, with a rectification rate of 79.3%. 257 major hidden dangers that have not been rectified will be listed for supervision.
"The working mechanism for the joint supervision of major hazard sources of hazardous chemicals has been initially established." Sun Guangyu said that the fire rescue and hazardous chemical supervision agencies at all levels across the country are fighting side by side, and the task is to handle the whole process of dispatch and command.
Yan Lunjiang said that in developed countries in Europe and the United States, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and other high-tech technologies are widely used in security products and equipment, and a complete industrial chain integrating R&D, production, and sales has been formed. The security industry market as a whole is specialized and scaled. The development trend of globalization, marketization, standardization and integration.
Hazardous chemical safety technology involves multiple basic disciplines and contains many complex scientific issues. Yan Lunjiang said that the "Opinions" regard the improvement of hazardous chemical safety technology and information technology as an important task. After the establishment of the Emergency Management Department, more than 10 supporting platforms related to technological innovation of hazardous chemicals safety have been created. "Hazardous chemicals companies will develop toward smart factories in the future. They must deploy security management and control technologies for smart factories in advance, and develop security dynamic information perception, transmission, and diagnostic analysis technologies based on the Internet of Things to improve the digital and intelligent level of corporate security management. "
The nationwide special inspection and rectification action for the storage and safety of hazardous chemicals involves emergency management, transportation, market supervision, ecological environment and other departments. We must insist on starting from the source, and strictly implement the joint approval and inspection of hazardous chemicals production and storage projects. Strictly check the requirements, scientifically and rationally arrange the production and storage enterprises of hazardous chemicals.