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Process Safety Incidents

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A Process Safety Incident typically involves an unexpected mechanical integrity failure in a pipeline system or processing facility, often including a fire, explosion, rupture, or hazardous chemical leak. These incidents can be caused by a number factors including damage mechanisms, human errors, environmental conditions, and just plain bad luck. Process safety incidents can pose significant risks to workers, the environment, and nearby equipment.

It is unlikely that the O&G and chemical processing industries will ever be able to eliminate process safety incidents completely, due to the inherent dangers present when working with hazardous materials at high temperatures and pressures. However, by following good inspection, maintenance, and engineering practices, the frequency of incidents can be minimized.

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Articles about Process Safety Incidents
July/August 2021 Inspectioneering Journal

Part 1 presents a brief overview of the process of assessing equipment in a post-fire "return-to-service" effort and discusses some common issues that may arise during that process.

Authors: Greg Garic
May/June 2021 Inspectioneering Journal

This article is oriented toward identifying and assessing the risk of potentially high consequence, but usually lower likelihood, FEMI issues that could cause a big event at operating sites if sufficient safeguards or barriers are not in place.

Authors: John Reynolds
Blog

This is the first article in a new column. In each article, the author will share technical, thought-provoking, and sometimes humorous or emotional experiences garnered in a career that spans over 20 years inside the gates of facilities.

Authors: Inspector Frank
Blog

UT couplant auto-ignition is a surprise event that puts the safety of inspectors at risk. In an effort to reduce occurrences, API SCIMI plans to address this issue by including new paragraphs in the upcoming rewrites of API RP 572 and API RP 574.

Authors: Gene Larson
January/February 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

This article provides a summary of the 2019 API Inspection & MI Summit keynote address, which offers a past, present, and future outlook on fixed equipment mechanical integrity from an industry professional with 50+ years of experience.

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

Our proprietary furnace tube inspection system, FTIS is an ultrasonic inspection technology capable of rapid, automated fired heater coil inspection in refinery fired heaters. The data captured by our furnace tube inspection system is...

July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

This article details the basis for the lack of understanding about the potential for ultrasonic couplant auto-ignition and outlines an ALARP operating practice for mitigation.

Authors: Gene Larson
Blog

Sometimes with our busyness with the “Daily Grind”, we can forget about our most important mission – prevention of a big event caused by an unanticipated fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) failure. Those big events are the ones that...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

If everyone in an industrial setting actively looked for things that were not right or seemed different, or looked at small mistakes as opportunities to prevent larger ones, what would the future look like?

Authors: Virginia Edley
July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Rarely is there a new and unknown cause of a major Fixed Equipment Mechanical Integrity (FEMI) failure in the petrochemical and refining industry. This article briefly summarizes five major fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) failures from...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Based on my 45+ years of experience working with fixed equipment mechanical integrity (FEMI) issues in the refining and petrochemical processing industry, this article summarizes what I believe are the top 10 reasons why pressure vessels and piping...

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

LOTIS utilizes laser profilometry to conduct internal steam reformer tube inspections. The data captured by LOTIS is exceptionally powerful when combined with our LifeQuest™ remaining life assessment capabilities, providing an integrated...

July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Piper Alpha is an offshore oil and gas platform that suffered an explosion in July 1988, still regarded as the worst offshore oil disaster in the history of the United Kingdom. The 25th anniversary of the disaster was commemorated across the...

Authors: Jerry Crawford
Blog

This blog post is the second part of a two part series that assesses the top ten reasons for FEMI failures that cause process safety incidents. The ten reasons I’ve outlined are a result of doing 60+ FEMI audits within refineries and chemical...

Authors: John Reynolds
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

An adequate characterization of the Keystone XL special conditions from the perspective of pipeline integrity and risk would be advantageous from the system onset for identifying latent flaws in the system spill prevention plans.

Authors: Sergio Oliva
May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Several catastrophic spills over the past few years have sparked significant interest in oil spill prevention across the industry. Not only do facilities with large amounts of oil want to prevent environmental damage, loss of product, and civil...

Authors: Kelly Lagana
September/October 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

On August 6, 2012, a piping failure occurred in the #4 Crude Unit at the Chevron U.S.A. Inc. refinery in Richmond, CA. Chevron U.S.A. would like to share some potentially significant preliminary information regarding the incident.

Partner Content

Piping accounts for roughly 40% of “accidental releases” at major petroleum facilities. Modern robots can inspect every inch of piping while still in service, giving you a clear picture of your most concerning areas.

November/December 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released its final report on a series of three accidents that occurred over a 33-hour period on January 22 and 23, 2010, at the DuPont Corporation's Belle, West Virginia, chemical manufacturing plant -...

July/August 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

Tesoro Corporation announced the release of the TOP (Triangle of Prevention) Investigation Team Report on the April 2, 2010, incident at the Anacortes Refinery in Washington State.

July/August 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

In a report issued May 27, 2009 for an investigation into the November 2008 fertilizer tank collapse at Allied Terminals in Chesapeake, VA, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recommended that the Commonwealth of Virginia regulate or authorize...

May/June 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

Washington, DC, May 19, 2010 - The practice of using flammable natural gas to clean power plant piping, which led to the fatal explosion at Connecticut-based Kleen Energy on February 7, has been commonly used across the gas-fired power generating...

January/February 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

Washington, DC, January 25, 2010 - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today voted to initiate an investigation of recent accidents at the DuPont chemical complex in Belle, West Virginia, following a release of highly toxic phosgene on Saturday...

Partner Content

TEAM provides full inline, onsite and, shop valve repair services and maintenance programs for virtually all valve types, brands, sizes, materials, pressures, and operating conditions, including actuators and operators. Our valve repair solution is...

January/February 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued urgent safety recommendations calling on CITGO to immediately improve its emergency water mitigation system in the event of another release of potentially deadly hydrogen fluoride (HF) vapor, as occurred...

September/October 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

Washington, DC, September 18, 2008 - A fire and series of explosions at the Barton Solvents Des Moines, Iowa, chemical distribution facility on October 29, 2007, was caused by a static electrical spark resulting from inadequate electrical bonding...

September/October 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

Washington, DC, August 20, 2008 - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced today that it is proceeding with an investigation of the causes of a recent accident at the Goodyear rubber manufacturing facility in southeast Houston, in which one...

November/December 2007 Inspectioneering Journal

The Inspectioneering Journal was unable to validate this report but it still serves well for all of us who enter equipment as an example not to take lightly, safety procedures that should not be ignored, side stepped nor steps skipped. Here is the...

March/April 2007 Inspectioneering Journal

Sunray,Texas, March 9, 2007 - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board today announced it is conducting a full investigation of the propane fire that occurred February 16 at the Valero McKee Refinery here, seriously burning three workers and forcing the...

Partner Content

Traditional pressure vessel inspections often require taking assets out of service. However, MISTRAS’ Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) programs provide data as good or better than internal inspections, while assets remain in service. NII is...

January/February 2007 Inspectioneering Journal

On July 20, 2003, a release of chlorine gas from the Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell) chemical plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, resulted in injuries to seven plant workers and issuance of a shelter-in place advisory for residents within a...

July/August 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

This Case Study describes an explosion and fire in a polyethylene wax processing facility operated by Marcus Oil and Chemical in Houston, Texas. Structural damage and glass breakage occurred up to one quarter mile from the facility, injuring local...

May/June 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

On 11 December 2005, fuel at the Buncefield storage ter- minal near London exploded. The incident and immediate aftermath were described in the March-April 2006 edition of IJ. The investigation into the disaster began at the end of January. Three...

March/April 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

On Sunday morning 11 December 2005, fuel at the Buncefield storage terminal located about 45km (28 miles) north-west of central London exploded, starting fires that have been described as the biggest of their kind in peacetime Europe, Fig.1. The...

September/October 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Recently an unnecessary financial incident was caused as a result of an inadequate tank inspection and failure to recognize the hazards of rain entering leaking fixed roofs of storage tanks. A bolted bladder tank upgrade was scoped for miscellaneous...

Authors: P.E. Myers
May/June 1998 Inspectioneering Journal

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the report on this catastrophic failure that involved two storage tanks in a Pennsylvania refinery. The report issued March 20, 1998, stated that while both tanks had roof replacements since their...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
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