March 28, 2011 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident and Lessons Learned: If a Picture is Worth A Thousand Words, How Much is an On-Line Video Worth?

 Userfiles Chemsafety Image Fireball

The Chemical Safety Board has been producing videos of their accident investigation findings. The latest one is titled “Fire in the Valley” and can be found at the CSB web site:

http://www.csb.gov/videoroom/detail.aspx?VID=50

You can watch it as a streaming video or download it in Quicktime (.mov) or Windows Media Video (.wmv).

What can you learn from this video? Here’s what the CSB said in their press release:

The video features a detailed computer animation showing how a series of errors and deficiencies during a lengthy startup process resulted in a runaway chemical reaction inside a residue treater pressure vessel. The CSB’s investigation found that operators were not adequately trained, new computer process equipment had not been fully checked out, and a critical safety interlock was bypassed to begin a chemical reaction.

One more question. When you watch the video, the CSB has a point to make. It implies that the reason Process Safety Management has failed is that there needs ti be more governmental regulatory oversight of operations. because the federal and state governments are not providing the oversight they think is needed, they recommend local government oversight similar to that provided by the Contra Costa County government in California. As proof, the use a decrease in the accident rate in Costra County from 2-4 serious process safety accidents per year to one year with zero serious process safety incidents.

My question is, did they prove their point? Is more regulatory oversight the key to improved process safety?

Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment here.

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