CSB Releases Safety Digest on Startups and Shutdowns

The 4-page document provides lessons learned from these incidents with the hope of preventing startup and shutdown incidents in the future.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has released a Safety Digest highlighting three incidents that took place during a startup or shutdown. The 4-page document also provides lessons learned from these incidents with the hope of preventing startup and shutdown incidents in the future. 

In the Safety Digest, the CSB cites a 2010 study of incidents in the refining industry that found 50 percent of process safety incidents take place during startups, shutdowns, and other events that are infrequent, because these periods involve many non-routine procedures that can result in unexpected situations. 

The Safety Digest includes a short description of the BP Amoco Thermal Decomposition Incident on March 13, 2001; the First Chemical Corporation Reactive Explosion and Fire on October 13, 2002; and the Bayer CropScience Pesticide Chemical Runaway Reaction and Pressure Vessel Explosion on August 28, 2008. 

After a review of these incidents, the CSB’s guide includes a number of safety lessons learned, such as: written operating procedures need to have sufficient detail, computerized control systems should include a process overview and material balance summaries to ensure full process oversight by operators, and newly installed computer controls need to be calibrated and tested before being used in a startup. 

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