CUI Major Incident# 8: Williams Olefins Plant Explosion
Sep 04, 2020
Date and Place of Incident:
On June 13, 2013 the explosion occurred at Williams Olefins Plant located in Geismar, 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Summary of Incident:
The explosion caused by the propylene chemical which caught fire, by leaking from a pipe.
Root cause of Incident:
- The main factor of explosion was piping under the insulation in the incident.
- The explosion was caused by the terrible failure of a heat exchanger which was linked with pipeline that broke loose from the distillation tower and later identified as had been damaged from six months.
Financial Loss to Freedom Industries:
The explosion caused substantial damages to the plant.
Environmental Impact of the Incident:
Propylene was escaped to the atmoshpere which was hazardous to health and for environment.
Fatality or injury due to the Incident:
In this incident, 1 dead and 73 injuries were reported
Non-Compliance of Safety Guidelines and Reliability Practices:
- The process safety management programs were not being followed properly from the past 2 years which led to incident and caused the reboiler ruptures by overpressure. The Management of Change (MOC) Process, Pre-Startup Safety Review (PSSR), Hazard Analysis (PHA) programs were the contributed factors to the explosion
- The significant changes which introduced the new hazards of reboiler rupture were failed to be appropriately managed or effectively reviewed.
- The key hazard analysis recommendation was failed to be effectively and completely intended to avoid the rupture of reboiler.
- The development of procedures for the operation activities conducted on the incident day was failed and could not perform a hazard analysis that could have mentioned overpressure protection.
Recommendations to Avoid Corrosion:
- Proper alarms and interlock system in case of unforeseen chemical explosion.
- Proper inspection schedules and adequate maintenance to detect the possible chances of occurring corrosion should be established.
- Safety measures should be taken seriously and process safety management programs are essential to be followed to avoid such explosion in future
Links to Photos and videos of incidents: