Learning from the Past: Not Letting the Pendulum Swing to the Opposite Extreme in Our Mechanical Integrity Programs

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By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal. This article appears in the September/October 2008 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

It has been over 3 years since the fatal blast at the BP Texas City Refinery on March 23, 2005, where 15 lives were lost, more than 170 people injured and survivor’s lives changed forever. Historical memory can be an odd thing.

It is important to preserve as accurate an account as possible if we are to learn from the past. I believe it is important to protect ourselves from ourselves from rationalizing the past to justify movement toward “rationalization of abnormalities”, as explained by Mr. Don Holmstrom from the US CSB, appearing in paragraph 21 of the copy of the presentation given by the US Chemical Safety Board to the BP Independent Panel, headed by James A. Baker III, former US Secretary of State. That presentation immediately follows this article. Each paragraph is numbered. These paragraphs will serve as references further in this editorial.

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