Multiple Agencies Investigating Deadly AB Specialty Silicones Explosion in Waukegan, Illinois

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Multiple state and federal agencies have deployed investigators to Waukegan, Illinois, where a deadly explosion at the AB Specialty Silicones plant last Friday night tragically killed three workers and left another missing.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Sent 3-Person Team to Waukegan

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced it was sending a three-person team to the site of the ABS Specialty Silicones explosion on Sunday.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency that determines the root cause of major chemical disasters at plants and refineries throughout the United States. Although it has no power to levy fines, the Board’s regulatory recommendations have led to industry wide changes that have likely saved countless lives.

Representatives from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration are also on site in Waukegan. Their investigation will focus on uncovering any workplace safety violations that may have led to the disaster.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Illinois State Fire Marshalls Office are also investigating the incident.

AB Specialty Silicones Had Clean OSHA Record Before Explosion

AB Specialty Silicones is a U.S. manufacturer and worldwide distributor of specialty silicone chemicals that’s been in business for over 20 years. The company apparently has a clean slate with OSHA and no outstanding violations with the state EPA.

The May 3rd explosion destroyed one of four buildings located on the AB Specialty Silicones campus in Waukegan and damaged several nearby structures. According to media reports, people up to 15 miles away felt the blast.

Of the nine employees working last Friday night, three are confirmed dead, three suffered injuries and one remains unaccounted for. All of the dead were from Kenosha County, Wisconsin, which lies right across the boarder from Waukegan.

Search Continues for Missing AB Specialty Silicones Worker

The missing man is reportedly from Illinois. A four-member specialty team was brought in to aid the search for his remains, which is proceeding slowly and methodically due to dangerous conditions at the site and the need to preserve evidence.

While it’s not clear what caused the AB Specialty Silicones explosion, several workers have confirmed that an evacuation was underway just before the blast erupted. Some of their fallen comrades apparently coordinated the evacuation and have been credited with saving lives.

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