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Comment PDF Environment, Health, Safety & Security

Designing for A Safe Process

By Phil Leckner, CH2M Hill Lockwood Greene |

    Accidents do happen. While not everything can be predicted, addressing safety concerns throughout the design of a process can help to prevent accidents from occurring. Designing with safety in mind can also help to minimize potentially serious consequences that would result if an accident did occur. On April 12, 2004, toxic allyl alcohol and allyl chloride were released from a reactor at a facility in Dalton, Ga. The consequences included injuries and chemical contamination to people and property in the surrounding area. According to their report [1], the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) concluded that “better process design, engineering, and hazard analysis would likely have prevented the 2004 runaway chemical reaction and toxic vapor cloud release…” On March 23, 2005, an explosion at a refinery in Texas City, Tex. killed 15 workers and injured 180 others when flammable liquid and vapor overfilled a blowdown drum during the startup of the refinery’s isomerization unit [1]. All of the fatalities and many of the injuries occurred in and around trailers that had been positioned near the isomerization unit to support maintenance activities on adjacent refinery units. The CSB…
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