December 31, 2015

Weak Sulphuric acid FRP tank collapse

In a factory, where 10 MT weak sulphuric acid was stored, suddenly the suction line valve tank nozzle assembly got broken and through this opening sulphuric acid drained out from the tank. This resulted in vacuum formation in the tank. This FRP tank hit against the supporting channel legs due to the formation of vacuum.
Causes :
1. The FRP tank was not maintained with a adequate strength and stability

2. The FRP tank was not tested and certified by the Competent person every year

 Source: DGFASLI

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Urea prill tower incident

In a Fertilizer manufacturing factory urea manufactured in prill tower passes through a grizzly (a stainless steel sieve) and falls on a conveyor. To facilitate repair works to be carried out to a grizzly bar, two metal rods were placed above the grizzly bar and this was covered by a tarpaulin sheet.Right below this arrangement welding of grizzly bar was carried out. When the welding process was being carried out heavy lumps of urea started falling down from the prill tower and fell on the iron plates placed over the grizzly bar. The iron plates along with heavy lumps of urea fell on the workers working right below the covered tarpaulin sheet and they sustained head Injuries and died.
Causes :
The temporary arrangements made above the grizzly bar to facilitate welding work was not of a strong and rigid construction to withstand falling of heavy lumps of urea from prill tower.

Ref:DGFASLI




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December 26, 2015

How the Apollo 1 Fire Changed Spaceship Design Forever

Interesting article on how designers learn from their mistakes.....after all they are also human.
How the Apollo 1 Fire Changed Spaceship Design Forever


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December 23, 2015

Accident and emergency | Chemistry World

Accident and emergency | Chemistry World

‘2015 should be remembered as a year when the chemical industry was sharply reminded of its social responsibility’



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December 22, 2015

Empty drums are deadly drums

Often empty drums are treated with much less safety precautions than filled drums. An empty drum that has not been purged free of residues chemicals is a potential bomb. Read about an incident from HSE UK, with a small film about the incident in this link.


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December 18, 2015

Management of Change or Change of Management?

In 1999, when I was carrying out a PSM audit, we were auditing a maintenance mechanic. I was asking whether he can explain what is the meaning of management of change. He replied that when his company was recently taken over by another company, that is management of change!
Are you carrying out MOC for change in Management?

 
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December 15, 2015

Whitepaper on dust explosions

Read a good white paper by Fike about Dust explosions in this link.

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December 11, 2015

Ammonia leak kills one

News reports coming in of an accident in an ammonia plant in Canada when a contractor employee who was doing weather proofing job on an ammonia storage tank was killed due to an ammonia release. Apparently, a piece of equipment struck a valve on the tank and caused the leak. This accident highlights the dangers of working with highly hazardous chemicals and the need for proper JSA's to be carried out.

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December 8, 2015

December 6, 2015

Lessons relearned - TCE - inadequate isolations

Read a TCE article on Lessons relearned - inadequate isolations in this link.

 
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December 2, 2015

The Ghosts of Bhopal

On the 31st anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, and with the post Bhopal generation of Chemical Engineers now managing Chemical plants, let us remind ourselves that the Ghosts of Bhopal are still around. We continue to see compromises in process safety management leading to catastrophic accidents.
  • For a new generation who have grown up with ISO and PSM systems, remind yourself that systems alone cannot prevent accidents. 
  • You must not be deaf and blind to what the systems are telling you. 
  • You must also speak up and not be mute when you observe process safety issues. 
  • Do not forget the lessons from the past. 
  • For people at the highest level in the organization, do not get lulled into a false sense of security just because nothing has happened. 
  • Actively seek out bad news...remember the ghosts of Bhopal are still around, waiting to give you a scare....
An example of the Ghosts of Bhopal is the recent CSB incident investigation report of the Caribbean Petroleum Tank terminal explosion and multiple fires released by CSb in October 2015.
CSB finds that systemic failures at CAPECO included: (The highlighted failures are the same failures that happened in Bhopal)
  1. A history of poorly maintaining terminal operations;
  2. An inherent financial pressure to fill the tanks within the Planning Department’s stipulated time, which was at odds with safety;
  3. A failure to learn from previous overfill incidents at the facility;
  4. A lack of preventative maintenance for the malfunctioning float and tape device, automatic tank gauge transmitters;
  5. An unreliable computer for calculating tank fill times;
  6. A lack of overfill prevention safeguards as an independent alarm;
  7. A lack of formal procedures for tank-filling operations for operators and managers;
  8. An insufficient mechanical integrity program for safety critical equipment;
  9. Poor adherence to human factors principles for safety critical equipment.



I also managed to locate a Dec 31, 1984 article on the Bhopal Gas Disaster written in India Today. Read it in this link.

Read an eyewitness account of a IIT professor who was travelling by train at Bhopal station when the disaster occurred in this link 

Remind your employees, including top management that the ghosts of Bhopal are still around by organizing a process safety week from December 2nd every year
 
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December 1, 2015

Beware of hose worm clamps!

 A chemical cleaning unit of a heat exchanger was rigged up with hoses, fixed with clamps. When the cleaning operation was going on, one of the workers accidentally stepped on the hose which was sending in pressurised chemical cleaning solution. The hose worm clamp gave way and the hose sprayed chemical cleaning solution into the eyes of the worker, causing permanent damage to his vision.

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