July, 2001

This is a repeating event

200117JulAll DayMotiva Enterprises Explosion 2001Motiva Enterprises Delaware City (US-DE) Origin: CSB Lessons:Asset integrity,Control of Work,Management of ChangeIndustry:RefiningCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Maintenance error

Summary

On July 17, 2001, an explosion occurred at the Motiva Enterprises LLC Delaware City Refinery (DCR) in Delaware City, Delaware. Jeffrey Davis, a boilermaker with The Washington Group International, Inc. (WGI), the primary maintenance contractor at DCR, was killed; eight others were injured.

A crew of WGI contractors was repairing grating on a catwalk in a sulfuric acid (H2SO4) storage tank farm when a spark from their hot work ignited flammable vapors in one of the storage tanks. The tank separated from its floor, instantaneously releasing its contents. Other tanks in the tank farm also released their contents. A fire burned for approximately one-half hour; and H2SO4 reached the Delaware River, resulting in significant damage to aquatic life. .

KEY ISSUES:
• MECHANICAL INTEGRITY
• ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT
• MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE
• HOT WORK SYSTEMS

ROOT CAUSES:
1. Motiva did not have an adequate mechanical integrity management system to prevent and address safety and environmental hazards from the deterioration of H2SO4 storage tanks.
2. Motiva engineering management and MOC systems inadequately addressed conversion of the tanks from fresh to spent acid service.
3. The Motiva hot work program was inadequate.


Image Credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

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