CUI Major Incident# 8: Williams Olefins Plant Explosion

Uncategorized 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 RougeLouisiana.

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:

  1. Proper alarms and interlock system in case of unforeseen chemical explosion.
  2. Proper inspection schedules and adequate maintenance to detect the possible chances of occurring corrosion should be established.
  3. 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:




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