On 16 August 2019 at approximately 15:10, Safripol in Durban experienced a valve failure during a planned maintenance exercise that caused a leak of Therminol VP-1 (TVP-1) heat transfer fluid. All safe work procedures were in place and correctly followed. There were no injuries on site and the site was not damaged in any way.
Given that the plant operates under high pressure and high temperature, the TVP-1 fluid immediately became a vapour cloud on release, which activated the site’s fire protection system, comprising water and foam. This created a large vapour cloud comprising both steam and TVP-1, which dissipated into the surrounding atmosphere. There was no fire or smoke present.
In line with the guidelines of the eThekwini Health Unit, Safripol has investigated the potential health risks arising from this incident. Scientific research on the toxicity of TVP-1 and its constituents concludes that there is no evidence of any chronic health effects after acute, time-limited exposure to TVP-1 and its constituents.
Safripol regards this as a serious matter and has been cooperating fully with the relevant national, provincial and local (eThekwini municipality) government authorities, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), Department of Labour and Department of Health. Safripol has complied with all the known regulatory and statutory requirements.
Safripol has also and will continue to actively engage with and support neighbouring communities in relation to this incident.