IME Urges Safe Handling of Ammonium Nitrate on the Anniversary of the West, TX Explosion


As the industry that safely handles the majority of ammonium nitrate (AN) used in the United States, the Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME) urges policymakers and all those that handle and store AN to understand that incidents like that which occurred in West, Texas last year are preventable.  “AN is a safe product when handled properly in accordance with existing rules promulgated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and with best practices published by the IME,” stated Debra Satkowiak, the president of IME.  IME’s Safety and Security Guidelines for Ammonium Nitrate, which were endorsed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, and the International Society of Explosives Engineers, detail how AN can be handled and stored to avoid risk of another incident like West.

Tim O’Brien, IME’s chairman and president of Detotec North America, added, “Our hearts go out to the families of those who died and to all those who were injured or suffered damage to their property.   West was a tragedy that never should have happened, but additional regulation will not solve the problem of facilities that do not adhere to established regulatory requirements and follow the best practices our commercial explosives industry has identified.”  On the one year anniversary of the incident, IME again calls for all those who handle and store ammonium nitrate to do so safely by following IME’s Guidelines. 

Founded in 1913, the IME is the safety and security institute of the commercial explosives industry.  The IME represents U.S. manufacturers of high explosives and other companies that distribute explosives or provide related services.  Commercial explosives are used in every state in the union and are distributed worldwide.  The value of IME member shipments is estimated in excess of $1 billion annually.  The ability to manufacture and distribute these products safely and securely is critical to this industry and to the mining, construction, and demolition industries that use our products.  IME’s 15 Safety Library Publications cover all aspects related to the safe and secure manufacture, transport, storage and disposal of commercial explosives.  The Institute does not sponsor trade shows or other marketing events. 

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