Plant Explosion Shows Need for Scanning | The Document Group

Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Proves Need For Document Scanning

Shortly before the Boston Marathon, a fertilizer company explosion rocked West, Texas. Though the tragic marathon event overshadowed the Texas explosion in the media, the impact of the explosion was even more devastating. Seventeen people died, including 11 first responders, while over 160 sustained injuries. More than 150 homes, schools, a nursing home, and other buildings and their contents were destroyed or damaged.  Many lost everything.

While these tragedies happen far too often, being prepared for the worst and hoping for the best is the way to go.  Disaster strikes and we are left to pick up the pieces.  Scanning your paper documents, keeping multiple backup copies, and keeping them in different locations is just good business practice.  

Canon G1100 scanning

The Toll In Business Disruption

Businesses located in the area faced a special problem. Any documents stored on site were incinerated in the explosion that rocked a five block area. As the residents of this small town rebuild their lives, many businesses were faced with reconstructing customer, student, and patient files in addition to finding new spaces. Unless the affected businesses had documents stored offsite or backed up electronically, the road to a smoothly functioning business was long and difficult.  

Business disruptions happen all over the world due to many different reasons.  Those that have their plans in place before disaster strikes are the lucky ones.  The lucky ones are able to get back to business quickly and with minimal re-startup costs.


Though the explosion in Texas started in a fertilizer plant, any business is at risk from accidents, fires, or natural disasters in their own facilities or nearby ones. Mother Nature does not care about the business of man. While businesses cannot predict, or even prevent, an accident or natural disaster, document scanning should be part of any efforts at risk management. Scanning transforms boxes and file cabinets packed with paper records into electronic images that survive when paper can not.

While nobody doubts the longevity of paper, vellum, and parchment products (see the Dead Sea Scrolls), there are so many ways paper can be destroyed that you don’t think about.  So much has been lost to history due to fire it is a tragedy of epic proportions.  Think the Library at Alexandria in ancient Egypt.  War and strife has led to many losses across time also.  How many treasures, stolen by conquering armies, were never seen again?  This is obviously worst case scenario but it still applies to your business documents all the same.

Industries In Special Need Of Archiving Scanning

Though disaster can strike any business, some industries are more dangerous by nature and pose greater risk to employees and to business documentation.

  1. Businesses using or storing chemicals. Fertilizer companies are prime examples.
  2. Businesses using nanotechnology, which manipulates atoms and molecules. Often used in many different industries, nano-materials are potentially explosive and toxic.
  3. Businesses that raise considerable dust, such as sawmills, flour processing plants, and grain silos. Accumulated dust is both explosive and flammable.
  4. Businesses that refine and store petrochemicals. Oil facilities in Texas might store millions of gallons of gasoline or oil at a time.
  5. Businesses that do spray painting. Boat yards, auto body facilities, and furniture companies employ ignitable chemicals in applying paint and coatings.

Enterprises that are more dangerous often have numerous safety measures in place to prevent accidents and function without incident that harms them or their neighbors. In Texas, though the fertilizer plant had safety violations on record, there were no accidents until now.

How Mobile Document Scanning Services Can Help

All this proves that any business must be prepared for unforeseen events. Document scanning can help you do this and has numerous benefits including:

  1. Assures that documents are safe from harm
  2. Electronic storage of scanned documents require no storage space
  3. The content is easily shared and accessible by authorized personnel
  4. Improved customer service as employees spend less time shuffling paper

Converting to electronic documents can be time consuming. However, in the Houston area, The Document Group has a qualified team of dedicated professionals who will come onsite to provide mobile document scanning services to make the process fast and easy. TDG can also provide services at their facility, but most customers prefer the convenience of onsite scanning. After the process is complete, TDG will take the records away for storage or shredding.

Regardless of your industry, document scanning is an easy way to minimize loss and prevent disruption of your business after a disaster. Contact us for a free quote for offsite or onsite scanning, or call us today at 713-343-4000 to learn more.

If you’d like to find out more information about the fertilizer plant explosion or help in the rebuilding of homes and lives in West, Texas.

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