Analyzing Historic Process Data to Identify Near Misses and Warning Signs: Examples from the Buncefield Incident

Global Congress on Process Safety
2010 Global Congress on Process Safety
Global Congress on Process Safety
March 22, 2010 - 8:00pm
Process data is often analyzed during the investigation of industrial fires and explosions. Our analyses often reveal near misses or warning signs that foreshadow the eventual causes of a catastrophic event. In some cases the facility may have been unaware of these near misses or not realized their frequency. Proactive analysis of process data prior to incidents would allow facilities to identify near misses and warning signs and address problems before a catastrophic event occurs.

In this paper we examine historical process data from the Buncefield Fuel Terminal. A December 2005 explosion and fire at the facility was caused by the overflow of approximately 300 m3 of premium gasoline from a storage tank. Our review of the historical process data from the facility identified multiple reoccurring events that eventually led to the incident. These include sticking of tank level gauges, possible failure of redundant high level switches, reliance of operators on alarms, and possible non-activation of alarms. Had the facility proactively reviewed process data prior to the incident, these warnings signs may have been more fully understood and addressed.

We propose that the proactive review of historic process data may allow facilities to identify additional near misses and warning signs and improve the efficiency and safety of their operations.
Professional Development Hours
0.5 PDHs
You will be able to download and print a certificate for these PDH credits once the content has been viewed. If you have already viewed this content, please click here to login.
Presenter(s): 

Would you like to access this content?

No problem. You just have to complete the following steps.

You have completed 0 of 2 steps.

  1. Log in

    You must be logged in to view this content. Log in now.

  2. Purchase Technical Presentation

    You must purchase this technical presentation using one of the options below.
    If you already purchased this content recently, please click here to refresh the system's record of ownerships.

Pricing

Credits 0.5 Use credits
List Price $25.00 Buy now
AIChE Members $15.00 Buy now
AIChE Undergraduate Student Members Free Free access
AIChE Graduate Student Members $15.00 Buy now