photo : CSB
March 23rd marked exactly 5 years since the Texas City disaster, a tragedy that resulted in 15 deaths, 170 injuries and a huge financial cost for the owner, BP.
A lot has happened in that time; there has been much wider recognition of the need for effective Process Safety Management (PSM) and many companies have implemented or are in the process of implementing very strong PSM policies and procedures.
However, there are still many companies that are not doing as much as they should in this regard. This is clearly a major concern. As a regular reader of the trade press, I see details of incidents and fatalities on a depressingly regular basis. This really should not be the case.
The Chairman of the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), John Bresland has issued a statement regarding the incident and its impact on the industry. His final paragraph is a very succinct reminder for all of us in the industry
"When will we know whether the tragedy of 2005 has resulted in greater safety at BP and other companies’ refineries? Only when we can look back over the passing of a significant number of years without major accidents, deaths, or injuries. In the meantime, only the highest commitment to running down the even smallest of problems and upsets will assure the prevention of so-called low probability, high-consequence events like the tragedy that took so many lives in Texas City five years ago today."