The Generalitat has decided to lift the suspension of the activity that since the accident of January 14, 2020 affected the derivatives plants ethylene oxide and propylene oxide of the chemical company Iqoxe in La Canonja (Tarragona).
The Department of Business and Work has made this decision after verifying that the facilities “they comply with all current regulations in matters of industrial security and to verify the implementation of additional security measures “.
The rugged facility, which used a different technology, is dismantled and it will not operate again, the Ministry explained in a statement. The occupational accident occurred at the U-3200 plant as a result of the explosion of a factory reactor, dedicated to the production of ethylene oxide and other derivatives, which caused the death of three people (two workers at the plant and a resident of Tarragona) and wounded four others.
Although the U-350, U-2500 and U-2360 plants were not the ones that suffered the accident, the Generalitat suspended its activity as a precautionary measure to increase its security measures beyond those provided for in the current regulatory framework.
In addition, the control room has been “bunkerized” and the plants have been equipped with different systems that, in the event of detecting significant deficiencies in pressure or temperature at different points in the reactor, interrupt the production process and activate cooling.
The fire protection and extinguishing system has also been improved, which has led to the installation of gas detectors in more locations, infrared flame detectors and a new system of powdered water sprinklers.
Finally, a system has been installed to keep a backup copy of the data of the production processes.
Despite the lifting of the suspension of the activity, the Department of Business and Labor keeps the information file open to determine the causes of the explosion of the ethylene oxide derivatives plant.
Last July, the Catalan Labor Inspectorate (ITC), dependent on the Generalitat, fined IQOXE 180,000 euros for a very serious infraction for this explosion, the highest penalty provided by the legislation on the infraction of the safety measures and prevention of occupational risks.