CYANCO - Executive Summary

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CYANCO has long held the motto "We have time to work safe".  This philosophy is more than just a slogan; it is build into every aspect of CYANCO's operations.  As the first liquid sodium cyanide facility in the U.S., CYANCO has strived to set the standard for safe operation and delivery of product to its customers.  CYANCO is a member of the Chemical Manufacture's Association and is committed to following the requirements of their "Responsible Care" program.  Community involvement and welfare is a major part of each decision that is made by the company.  OSHA's Process Safety Management program has been implemented by CYANCO and adds another level of protection for the operation.  CYANCO's only goal is to provide a quality product to its customers in a safe and efficient manner. 
CYANCO is a joint-venture company, owned 50/50 by Degussa-Huls and Mining Services International.  The facility located in Winnemucca, Nevada produces sodium cyanide, which is used by the local gold mining indu 
stry.  CYANCO is required to submit a report on its Risk Management Program due of the use of anhydrous ammonia at the facility. 
As part of the EPA's Risk Management Program, chemical manufacturers are required to develop Worst Case and Alternative Release Scenarios involving the hazardous chemicals used at the facility.  The Worst Case Scenario is narrowly defined by EPA as the complete release and vaporization of the largest chemical inventory over a period of 10 minutes.  The EPA also forces the scenario to occur in weather conditions that will create a release cloud or plume that extends as far as possible.  Additionally, for the Worst Case Scenario, it is assumed that none of the facility's automatic of safety controls function and that no action is taken by trained personnel.  Even EPA has admitted that the Worst Case Scenario will have to violate several chemical and physical laws to transpire.  
The Worst Case Scenario for CYANCO involves a rail car containing 158,000 pounds of  
anhydrous ammonia.  In the scenario, as defined by the EPA, it is assumed that all 158,000 pounds of ammonia is released over a 10-minute period, is completely vaporized and remains airborne.  Computer modeling shows that the resulting vapor plume extends to a maximum distance of 3.5 miles from its point of release.  Approximately 113 people, all in private residences, live within the effected area of the release.  These residence would be evacuated or asked to shelter in place.  No public facilities (schools, hospitals, etc.) are effected by this release scenario. 
The Alternative Scenario for Anhydrous Ammonia allows the consideration of the plant's safety systems as well as operator training and emergency response procedures.  CYANCO's Alternative Scenario involves the failure of in an offload gasket on an ammonia railcar.  Within 60 minutes, operators are able to respond, reduce the pressure in the system and close the valve, stopping the release.  The release of 20,000 pounds of am 
monia over a 60-minute period is considered in this scenario.  The resulting vapor plume extends 0.2 miles downwind of the release.  No residence or public facilities lie within the effected area.   
The Risk Management Program is just another building block in CYANCO's safe operations.  As a participant in OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) program, CYANCO already has a solid foundation for safe operations.  The PSM program requires the formal evaluation of specific design and operational hazards before the startup of any new process.  CYANCO has performed extensive Process Hazard Analysis on each area of the facility.  These exercises allowed the scrutiny of every operation performed at the plant.  Areas where hazards were identified have been promptly addressed.  The PSM program requires written operating procedures on each critical or hazardous task.  Operation and maintenance personnel are properly trained on their jobs and the hazards involved with the process.  CYANCO has a p 
rogram to insure that each piece of equipment is designed and functioning according to its design.  The Mechanical Integrity program includes periodic testing and inspection of vessels, safety devices and instruments to insure the safe operation of each.   
CYANCO's facility is designed and operated using state-of-the-art process control equipment.  The distributed control system maintains the operation within safe parameters at all times.  In the event that the process deviates from design conditions, the entire operation is shutdown within seconds without endangering personnel or releasing hazardous chemicals to the environment.  Process instrumentation and control equipment has been designed to protect both personnel and the public in the event of a process upset.  CYANCO has also made use of Intranet technology to improve the availability and accuracy of plant policies and procedures.  Every PC at the facility has access to the most current documents at the plant through this electr 
onic document control system.  Every effort has been made to insure the continued safe operation of every aspect of CYANCO's facility. 
CYANCO has an excellent safety record.  No releases of anhydrous ammonia resulting in onsite or offsite consequences have occurred in the 10-year history of the plant.  This safe record is a credit to the design of the facility and the training and dedication of plant personnel. 
Personnel have been trained to recognize and respond to any potential accident at the facility.  CYANCO's Emergency Response program uses simple step-by-step forms to guide personnel through the appropriate response to such incidents such as a chemical release, natural disaster, fire or explosion.  In the event of an emergency, personnel are trained to alert the entire staff to the problem using the plant alarm and paging system.  All onsite personnel, including contractors, will be accounted for and given directions for evacuation, if necessary.  Employees have been trained on  
the proper evaluation of each emergency situation and are able to mount an appropriate response.  Operations personnel have been empowered to shut down process operations if deemed necessary to the situation.  Safety equipment at the plant allows for a safe response to each emergency.  This safety equipment includes: a mobile command center, first aid and backboard kits, chemical detection devices,  chemical respirators, chemical resistant clothing and self contained breathing apparatus.  Continuous training and drills insure that each employee can comfortably make decisions and help to reduce the hazards posed by operation of a chemical manufacturing facility. 
CYANCO is continuously evaluating policies and training materials to insure that the best possible programs are in place.  New technology and techniques are examined and implemented if found to be valuable.  A major effort is currently underway to improve the quality and depth of operator training at CYANCO.  Enhancements to the 
current program will improve the understanding and tools available to the employees.  CYANCO is also working to improve the tools available to the maintenance staff.  The computer-based maintenance system will be enhanced to increase the quality and number of reports available.  The increase in available information
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