Storage tanks are most common material containing units in process industries. There have been many accidents associated within storage tank (material deficiency, structure design failures, operation error etc.) or among storage areas throughout the history. For example, overfilling has already caused 69 out of 242 tank-related incidents happening in the U.S. region from 1960 to 2006, while in the same time range there were 80 lightning-caused fires destroying many storage tanks. Both human error and natural disasters can result in devastating incidents for tanks are usually kept outdoors under weather influences, as well as the tank bodies and accessories are poorly designed, abused, or are not effectively inspected and maintained. Accidents about the vessels can be especially dangerous considering the large quantities of material in one location and the tendency for a single tank to upset other tanks within the same area. There are potential hazards which must be assessed carefully before construction, during operation, and after shutdown of any storage areas including hazardous or flammable chemicals.
This study offers an overview of the case history and incident causes about tank design failures, operation problems, and maintenance issues, with the relating root cause discussion about the implementation of process safety management and regulations. The incident statistics are collected from recent studies for an update to this field of concern. Also, some innovative storage unit technologies including groundings, roof design, safer filling procedures, and tank fire mitigation systems are introduced to give a proper information session to help industry understand the tank hazards and implement adequate actions to prevent incidents and losses.