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202319NovAll DayPEMEX LPG Explosion 1984PEMEX LPG San Juanico (MX)Lessons:Asset integrity,Emergency Preparedness,Operational Integrity,Risk Assessment,Stakeholder EngagementIndustry:LPGCountry:MexicoLanguage:ENLoC:Overpressure Origin: HSE Incident:BLEVE,VCEHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:> 100 FatalitiesMaterial:LPGTopics:Occupied Buildings
At approximately 05:35 hours on 19 November 1984 a major fire and a series of catastrophic explosions occurred at the government owned and operated PEMEX LPG Terminal at San Juan
At approximately 05:35 hours on 19 November 1984 a major fire and a series of catastrophic explosions occurred at the government owned and operated PEMEX LPG Terminal at San Juan Ixhuatepec, Mexico City. As a consequence of these events some 500 individuals were killed and the terminal destroyed.
Three refineries supplied the facility with LPG on a daily basis. The plant was being filled from a refinery 400 km away, as on the previous day it had become almost empty. Two large spheres and 48 cylindrical vessels were filled to 90% and 4 smaller spheres to 50% full.
A drop in pressure was noticed in the control room and also at a pipeline pumping station. An 8-inch pipe between a sphere and a series of cylinders had ruptured. Unfortunately the operators could not identify the cause of the pressure drop. The release of LPG continued for about 5-10 minutes when the gas cloud, estimated at 200 m x 150 m x 2 m high, drifted to a flare stack. It ignited, causing violent ground shock. A number of ground fires occurred. Workers on the plant now tried to deal with the escape taking various action. At a late stage somebody pressed the emergency shut down button.
About fifteen minutes after the initial release the first BLEVE occurred. For the next hour and a half there followed a series of BLEVEs as the LPG vessels violently exploded. LPG was said to rain down and surfaces covered in the liquid were set alight. The explosions were recorded on a seismograph at the University of Mexico.
• PLANT LAYOUT
• ACTIVE / PASSIVE FIRE PROTECTION
• LEAK / GAS DETECTION
• EMERGENCY RESPONSE / SPILL CONTROL
Image Credit: Mexico News Daily
202328NovAll DayNoroxo Legionella Incident 2003Noroxo Harnes (FR)Lessons:Operational IntegrityIndustry:ChemicalsCountry:FranceLanguage:ENLoC:Genuine release Origin: ARIA Incident:Gas/vapour/mist/etc release to airHazards:BiologicalImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:11 - 100 Fatalities
On November 28, 2003, two cases of Legionnaire’s Disease were recorded, the first symptoms of which dated back to the beginning of November. The dates of outbreak of the pathology,
On November 28, 2003, two cases of Legionnaire’s Disease were recorded, the first symptoms of which dated back to the beginning of November. The dates of outbreak of the pathology, which were then staggered over time, revealed two distinct waves of contamination with a total of 86 individuals contaminated, aged between 32 and 92 (of whom 18 died).
These cases all broke out within a radius of slightly over 10 km around the city of Lens. The DDASS (local Sanitary and Social Affairs Office) conducted environmental investigations at the homes of patients and within several facilities open to the public. At the request of the DRIRE (Regional Agency for the Environment, Research and Industry), all facilities operating cooling towers within the designated zone were asked to adopt measures to identify the eventual presence of legionella and clean their circuits. On October 15, the operator of a chemical installation specialised in alcohols and fatty acids extracted samples whose results revealed a concentration of legionella at a level of 730,000 CFU units/litre. Following a shock treatment using biocides, analyses 15 days later yielded a concentration of less than 100 CFU/litre. On November 20, another inspection announced that the level of 600,000 CFU/litre had been reached.
In light of these results, the chemical plant’s cooling towers were ordered to be shut down on November 29. As of December 3, the tower circuits were drained and cleaned. Operations resumed on December 22, and a prefectural decree was issued January 2, 2004 mandating the operator to halt all plant activity once again due to the appearance of a second epidemic wave. High pressure cleaning work could have induced the dispersion of a contaminated aerosol. At the same time, the Prefect commissioned the DRIRE Agency to extend its investigations, notably by inventorying all cooling towers within the neighbouring 53 towns and imposed the shutdown of several installations (automobile washing stations, food processing activities, refrigerated warehousing, etc.), causing layoffs to hundreds of workers for several days. Even though a similarity was detected between the strains extracted from 23 of the patients and those present in the suspected cooling tower at the petrochemical plant, other sources of contamination could not be ruled out. High legionella counts in the lagoons of this same plant necessitated turning off aerators on January 20. This site’s revenue loss would amount to several millions of Euros, corresponding to a production downtime of 14 weeks. A prefectural order authorising reactivation of the towers was issued on March 19, 2004, yet the plant would never operate again.
Image credit: TF1
202303DecAll DayBhopal Toxic Release 1984Union Carbide Bhopal Madhya Pradesh (IN)Lessons:Asset integrity,Control of Work,Emergency Preparedness,Management of Change,Risk Assessment,Stakeholder EngagementIndustry:ChemicalsCountry:IndiaLanguage:ENLoC:Genuine release Origin: HSE Incident:Gas/vapour/mist/etc release to airHazards:Corrosive,Flammable,ToxicImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:> 100 FatalitiesMaterial:Methyl IsocyanateTopics:Chemical Reaction
In the early hours of 3 December 1984 a relief valve on a storage tank containing highly toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) lifted. A cloud of MIC gas was released which
In the early hours of 3 December 1984 a relief valve on a storage tank containing highly toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) lifted. A cloud of MIC gas was released which drifted onto nearby housing.
Prior to this, at 23.00 hrs on 2 December, an operator noticed the pressure inside the storage tank to be higher than normal but not outside the working pressure of the tank. At the same time a MIC leak was reported near the vent gas scrubber (VGS). At 00.15hrs a MIC release in the process area was reported. The pressure inside the storage tank was rising rapidly so the operator went outside to the tank. Rumbling sounds were heard from the tank and a screeching noise from the safety valve. Radiated heat could also be felt from the tank.
Attempts were made to switch on the VGS but this was not in operational mode.
Approximately 2,000 people died within a short period and tens of thousands were injured, overwhelming the emergency services. This was further compounded by the fact that the hospitals were unaware as to which gas was involved or what its effects were. The exact numbers of dead and injured are uncertain, as people have continued to die of the effects over a period of years.
The severity of this accident makes it the worst recorded within the chemical industry.
• PLANT MODIFICATION / CHANGE PROCEDURES
• REACTION / PRODUCT TESTING
• DESIGN CODES – PLANT
• MAINTENANCE PROCEDURES
• EMERGENCY RESPONSE / SPILL CONTROL
Image Credit: No credit
202306DecAll DayMont-Blanc Explosion 1917SS Mont-Blanc Halifax (CA-NS)Industry:ShippingCountry:CanadaLanguage:ENLoC:Transport Origin: Wikipedia Incident:Explosive decompositionHazards:ExplosiveContributory Factors:Transport AccidentImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:> 100 FatalitiesMaterial:Explosives
The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, which happened on the morning of 6 December 1917. The Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc,
The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, which happened on the morning of 6 December 1917. The Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin, causing a large explosion on the French freighter, devastating the Richmond district of Halifax.
Approximately 2,000 people were killed by the blast, debris, fires or collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured. The blast was the largest man-made explosion at the time, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT (12,000 GJ).
Image Credit: Library of Congress
202307DecAll DayNDK Crystal Explosion 2009NDK Crystal Belvidere (US-IL)Lessons:Commitment & Culture,Compliance with Standards,Incident InvestigationIndustry:ManufacturingCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Deficiency Origin: CSB Incident:Pressure burstHazards:Mechanical/Kinetic/PotentialContributory Factors:Corrosion/Erosion/FatigueImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:1-10 FatalitiesMaterial:Quartz
On December 7, 2009, at approximately 2:30 pm, State Special Vessel No. 2, under an operating pressure of 29,000 psig, suddenly and violently ruptured, 120 days into a 150-day operating
On December 7, 2009, at approximately 2:30 pm, State Special Vessel No. 2, under an operating pressure of 29,000 psig, suddenly and violently ruptured, 120 days into a 150-day operating cycle. A white cloud of steam and debris rapidly expanded outward from the facility, traveled onto the interstate, and dissipated within seconds.
The sudden release of superheated liquid caused an eight-foot tall by four-foot wide vessel fragment, weighing approximately 8,600 pounds, to travel through two concrete walls and finally land about 435 feet from the NDK building. The fragment skipped across a neighboring facility parking lot and slammed into the wall of an adjacent business office. The force of the impact pushed the wall inward causing furniture to shift and ceiling tiles to fall. One person working near the wall was injured.
The thrust from the escaping liquid caused the base of the vessel to violently shear away from its foundation and blew pieces of structural steel out of the building into the parking lot of a nearby rest stop gas station, known as the Illinois Tollway (I-90) Oasis. One piece of structural steel struck and killed a truck driver at the rest stop. After shearing from its base and throwing shrapnel out of the facility, the vessel swung from the building and landed on the ground outside.
• PRESSURE VESSEL DESIGN & MATERIAL SELECTION REQUIREMENTS
• LEARNING FROM PREVIOUS INCIDENTS
1. Stress corrosion cracking.
2. Testing & inspection deficiencies.
Image credit: CSB
202319DecAll DayTacoa Terminal Explosion 1982Electricidad de Caracas Tacoa (VE)Industry:StorageCountry:VenezuelaLanguage:ENLoC:Confined explosion Origin: Marsh Incident:VCEHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:> 100 FatalitiesMaterial:Fuel Oil
A huge boil-over occurred on a fuel oil tank, killing at least 160 people in a huge fire ball. The explosion occurred on the fuel oil tank while it was
A huge boil-over occurred on a fuel oil tank, killing at least 160 people in a huge fire ball. The explosion occurred on the fuel oil tank while it was being gauged, blowing the roof off the tank and setting it on fire. Eight hours after the tank fire started a violent boil-over occurred. Burning oil flowed down the hill where the tank was located and surrounded a second tank.
[ Property Damage $70 Million. Estimated Current Value $193 Million ]
Image credit: Radio Rescate
202408JanAll DayGREEN VALLEY CHEMICAL EXPLOSION 2015Green Valley Chemical, Creston (US-IA)Lessons:Asset integrity,Commitment & Culture,Competency,Compliance with Standards,Control of Work,Operating Procedures,Risk AssessmentIndustry:ChemicalsCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:UNKNOWN Origin: MKOPSC Incident:Pressure burstHazards:Mechanical/Kinetic/PotentialImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:1-10 FatalitiesMaterial:Compressed Air
In a chemical plant that produces fertilizer, carbon dioxide and dry ice, a pipeline explosion occurred. Source: A web-based collection and analysis of process safety incidents (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0950423016302285) Image
In a chemical plant that produces fertilizer, carbon dioxide and dry ice, a pipeline explosion occurred.
Source: A web-based collection and analysis of process safety incidents (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0950423016302285)
Image Credit: Creston News Advertiser
202410JanAll DayPutney Explosion 1985South East Gas Board Putney (GB)Industry:MiscellaneousCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Structural settlement Origin: HSE Incident:EXPLOSIONHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:1-10 FatalitiesMaterial:Methane
On 10 January 1985 an explosion destroyed the central section of a three-storey block of luxury flats in South London, killing eight of the residents. Preliminary investigations indicated a gas
On 10 January 1985 an explosion destroyed the central section of a three-storey block of luxury flats in South London, killing eight of the residents. Preliminary investigations indicated a gas leak as a probable cause.
It was found that the explosion was caused by gas leaking into the building from a crack in the gas main, a 150mm (6 inch) diameter cast iron pipe buried at the rear of the building, which carried gas at low pressure. The crack was primarily due to loading on the pipe caused by differential settlement. The loading could not be evenly distributed along the pipe, as it was held rigidly near the point of failure by the concrete encasement of a drain, which acted as a fulcrum.
Image Credit: HSE
202430JanAll DayLittle General Store Explosion 2007Little General Store Ghent (US-WV)Lessons:Emergency Preparedness,Process Knowledge,Stakeholder EngagementIndustry:MiscellaneousCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Maintenance error Origin: CSB Incident:VCEHazards:FlammableContributory Factors:SupervisionImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:1-10 FatalitiesMaterial:Propane
On January 30, 2007, a propane explosion at the Little General Store in Ghent, West Virginia, killed two emergency responders and two propane service technicians, and injured six others. The
On January 30, 2007, a propane explosion at the Little General Store in Ghent, West Virginia, killed two emergency responders and two propane service technicians, and injured six others. The explosion leveled the store, destroyed a responding ambulance, and damaged other nearby vehicles.
On the day of the incident, a junior propane service technician employed by Appalachian Heating was preparing to transfer liquid propane from an existing tank, owned by Ferrellgas, to a newly installed replacement tank. The existing tank was installed in 1994 directly next to the store’s exterior back wall in violation of West Virginia and U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.
When the technician removed a plug from the existing tank’s liquid withdrawal valve, liquid propane unexpectedly released. For guidance, he called his supervisor, a lead technician, who was offsite delivering propane. During this time propane continued releasing, forming a vapor cloud behind the store. The tank’s placement next to the exterior wall and beneath the open roof overhang provided a direct path for the propane to enter the store.
About 15 minutes after the release began, the junior technician called 911. A captain from the Ghent Volunteer Fire Department subsequently arrived and ordered the business to close. Little General employees closed the store but remained inside. Additional emergency responders and the lead technician also arrived at the scene. Witnesses reported seeing two responders and the two technicians in the area of the tank, likely inside the propane vapor cloud, minutes before the explosion.
Minutes after the emergency responders and lead technician arrived, the propane inside the building ignited. The resulting explosion killed the propane service technicians and two emergency responders who were near the tank. The blast also injured four store employees inside the building as well as two other emergency responders outside the store.
• EMERGENCY EVACUATION
• HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INCIDENT TRAINING FOR FIREFIGHTERS
• 911 CALL CENTER RESOURCES
• PROPANE COMPANY PROCEDURES
• PROPANE SERVICE TECHNICIAN TRAINING
1. The Ferrellgas inspection and audit program did not identify the tank location as a hazard. Consequently, the tank remained against the building for more than 10 years.
2. Appalachian Heating did not formally train the junior technician, and on the day of incident he was working alone.
3. Emergency responders were not trained to recognize the need for immediate evacuation during liquid propane releases.
Image credit: CSB
202419FebAll DayConcept Sciences Explosion 1999Concept Sciences Allentown (US-PA)Lessons:Emergency Preparedness,Process Knowledge,Risk Assessment,Stakeholder EngagementIndustry:ChemicalsCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Overpressure Origin: CSB Incident:Runaway reaction explosionHazards:ReactiveContributory Factors:Loss of Process ControlImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:1-10 FatalitiesMaterial:HydroxylamineTopics:Chemical Reaction,Occupied Buildings
On February 19, 1999, a process vessel containing several hundred pounds of hydroxylamine exploded at the Concept Sciences Inc. production facility near Allentown, Pennsylvania. Employees were distilling an aqueous solution
On February 19, 1999, a process vessel containing several hundred pounds of hydroxylamine exploded at the Concept Sciences Inc. production facility near Allentown, Pennsylvania. Employees were distilling an aqueous solution of hydroxylamine and potassium sulfate, the first commercial batch to be processed at the facility. After the distillation process was shut down, the HA in the process tank and associated piping explosively decomposed, most likely due to high concentration and temperature. Four CSI employees and a manager of an adjacent business were killed. Two CSI employees survived the blast with moderate-to-serious injuries. Four people in nearby buildings were injured. The explosion also caused significant damage to other buildings in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park and shattered windows in several nearby homes.
• HAZARDS OF PROCESSING HYDROXYLAMINE
• PROCESS HAZARDS EVALUATION
• CHEMICAL FACILITY SITING
1. CSI’s process safety management systems were insufficient to properly address the hazards inherent in its HA manufacturing process and to determine whether these hazards presented substantial risks.
2. Inadequate collection and analysis of process safety information contributed to CSI’s failure to recognize specific explosion hazards.
3. Basic process safety and chemical engineering practices – such as process design reviews, hazard analyses, corrective actions, and reviews by appropriate technical experts – were not adequately implemented.
4. The existing system of siting approval by local authorities allowed a highly hazardous facility to be inappropriately located in a light industrial park.
Image Credit: CSB
202421MarAll DayTIANJIAYI CHEMICAL EXPLOSION 2019Tianjiayi Chemical Yancheng (CN)Industry:ChemicalsCountry:ChinaLanguage:ENIncident:Explosive decompositionHazards:ExplosiveImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:11 - 100 FatalitiesMaterial:Fertilizer
On 21 March 2019, a major explosion occurred at a chemical plant in Chenjiagang Chemical Industry Park, Chenjiagang, Xiangshui County, Yancheng, Jiangsu, China. According to reports published on March 25,
On 21 March 2019, a major explosion occurred at a chemical plant in Chenjiagang Chemical Industry Park, Chenjiagang, Xiangshui County, Yancheng, Jiangsu, China. According to reports published on March 25, 78 people were killed and 617 injured.
The State Council of China officially recognized the severity of the accident, often referred to as “3.21 Explosive Accident”.
The explosion occurred at a local time of 14:48 (06:48 GMT). 78 people were killed, and at least 94 were severely injured, 32 of whom were critically injured. Around 640 people required hospital treatment and were taken to 16 hospitals. The injured included children at a local kindergarten. CENC detected an ML2.2 artificial earthquake whose epicenter is at 34.331°N 119.724°E.
The force of the blast started numerous fires in Yancheng, knocked down several buildings, and reportedly destroyed windows several kilometers away. The fire was reported to have been controlled by 03:00 local time. Considerable damage was caused to nearby factories and offices; the roof of Henglida Chemical Factory, 3 km from the explosion, fell in. At least one of the people killed was in another building destroyed by the blast. Windows are reported to have been blown out up to 6 km away from the explosion, and houses and other buildings were damaged in the nearby village-level administrative divisions including Hai’an Town (Haianju) (海安社区) and Shadang (沙荡社区). This explosion was strong enough that it registered on earthquake sensors and could be seen by satellites. The blast created a crater resulting in a magnitude 2.2 seismic shock that took over 900 firefighters to get the fire under control.
Image Credit: Reuters
202422MarAll DayPeterborough Explosion 1989Nobels Explosives Co. Peterborough (GB)Industry:RoadCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Confined explosion Origin: HSE Incident:Explosive decompositionHazards:ExplosiveImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Fatalities)Effects:1-10 FatalitiesMaterial:Explosives
At 09.45 on 22 March 1989 a vehicle carrying approximately 800 kg of mixed explosives exploded at the premises of Vibroplant Ltd on the Fengate Industrial Estate, Peterborough. The explosion
At 09.45 on 22 March 1989 a vehicle carrying approximately 800 kg of mixed explosives exploded at the premises of Vibroplant Ltd on the Fengate Industrial Estate, Peterborough. The explosion caused the death of a fireman and injuries to at least 107 other people, 84 of whom received hospital treatment. Two of the injured were admitted to intensive care.
The vehicle was a standard commercial model specially modified to carry explosives, operated by Nobels Explosives Company (NEC), a subsidiary of ICI. It had entered the Vibroplant yard, in order to turn round off the road, when a minor explosion occurred inside the load compartment, causing a fire. The fire brigade was called and took up position. The fire increased and after approximately 12 minutes the entire load, apart from a small number of detonators, detonated en masse.
The vehicle did not carry any external placarding to tell emergency services that it contained explosives, but this did not contravene the legislation in force at the time. The fire brigade was told that the vehicle was carrying commercial explosives before firemen arrived on the scene.
Image Credit: HSE